Al Maginess’ seventh and most recent book, The Next Place, was published by Iris Press (2017). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Plume, North American Review, ucity, Vox Populi and many other places. He lives in Raleigh North Carolina and teaches at Wake Technical Community College.
When We Burned the Diaries
It was the year of marriages ending,
the year of subjective truth.
It was the year we began to know
longing the way ash understands
flame, not with hunger for
bright consumption, but slow desire
to be again what was altered.
Crows, starved for sour meat,
flew from the bent limbs of trees,
sky a pulpit for their single notes
until that song staled. In light,
threads of green, of reds and dusty gold
shimmered in dusty wings
as though they might have dipped
into the fires our words made
and ascended, trailing inky smoke,
singing each one of our rank sins
until they were ash gone cold,
good only to dirty hands
soiled long before.