I can stare into a space for so long
the utilitarian can become decorative, and the decorative
as useful as an exoskeleton.
The air I breath here changes, depending on where I am.
Inside, the smell of burning
a sinister sting of kerosene heaters warming every room
mixes with the lifting scent of coffee
or of pastries gently singeing in the oven
paving a trail of shifting memories
Not really memories. More like intuition.
Outside, the smell of burning,
rich and ancient as frankincense swung on golden chains
down foggy cathedral isles.
It’s an incense of trash aflame in yards and fields,
of smoldering timber and overgrowth.
Or else the air is perfumed with a sweet fermentation,
as if the canals run gurgling with sake, and I wonder
why no one is bending down to lap some
into the mouths of cups and flasks and
The kerosene heater shuts off after three hours.
The light through the frosted window is always glacial white.
And when I crack my bones in the cold,
how close I feel to the cow in its crate.
How far from the natural, animal condition.
How near to the slab of meat on the plate,
potato-pillowed on a bed of warm greens.