Tongues of Fire – Ann Howells

What blows through the misaligned doors
of the universe? Ancient name for shift of wind,
autumn’s ceremonial blade, virgin’s open chest —
heart held high — altar grooved to capture blood.
If history were stored in a blue glass bottle,
one sip would turn bone to ash. Twist the spine.
Shatter the skull. A whiff of the Apocalypse –
diaphanous curtains of borealis flutter,
imploding stars pop, pop, pop in three a.m. skies,
and a stealthy hand slips beneath Cassiopeia’s skirt.
Witching hour. Ancient gods watch
the universe sucked out its own window.
Street boys pound on garbage cans, industrial drums,
rusted dumpsters. They’ve captured the beat:
IEDs in the road, airplanes in the towers,
drones delivered in Amazon’s cardboard boxes.
Music for today — virus in the blood.

Ann HowellsAnn Howells edited Illya’s Honey journal from 1999 to 2017. Her most recent books are: So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books) and Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press). Several chapbooks: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag) and Softly Beating Wings (Blackbead Books) were published as contest winners.