Howard Firkin
The parents watch the tele while the kids
stare at their phones. This is the life we share.
We’re close enough to breathe each other’s air,
but separately distant. Distance rids
enchantment from our viewing, leaves us mute.
Where once we looked for images in fire,
or traced the spiral of a falling leaf
to clarify our smoke wisps of belief,
to coddle, soothe, assuage, delight, inspire,
belief is lost to facts we can’t refute.

We’re living in Pompeii. Vesuvius
is pumping filth and fury through the sky.
We stare at glass, preserved, oblivious—
don’t even think to wish our loves goodbye.