48 THE MISSOURI REVIEW • FALL 2019
on fire. Empires rolled over the earth,
their monstrous wheels. We argued power,
revolution, melodic rebellion. Bewailed
the girls we’d loved without claim, the ones
who left town in bad-mannered cars.
Our own country becoming Rome
in the beautiful devouring
flare of youth once given.
The mind returns to its sorrows
by habit, like a waitress counting out
pennies at the end of her shift. There
it builds its glorious city of losses. Old friend,
moonlight tumbles over the mountains tonight,
while I write you this letter. The fires will
keep burning, I see that now. And how
small the gestures of thought are,
how immense the silence between words.
We recited Whitman and Ginsberg
while our clothes tumbled in a laundromat
dryer. I remember the consoling ring
of our coins as they dropped in the slots,
the music, the real blessing of that.
Soon enough our lives would show us
how all is torn away, dying moment by
moment to become something else, leaving
only heat, and wind-burnt leaves.