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"Promise", "Mind of Fire", "Moonfall", and "Unpublished" by Alexander Etheridge


I bring you almonds and apricots,

fresh dates and country oranges.

You have stitched your name in

the very world around me,

I see it in every grain, every inch

of all the orchards and oceans of earth.

I think of you in each movement of the clock,

and in each moment of summer—

You’ve re-written my life, and made real

my steps down the mountain path

to the valley of wildflowers and August winds.

I will follow you anywhere,

through the hours of dim isolation,

to the other side of paradise.

You’ve called me out of the grim winter

to meet you here in the soft morning rain,

away from the others, here where we were always

going to be, in our shared silences, our own

summer of quietly spoken promises, where at last

I can touch your hands and kiss your brow,

and bring you almonds and apricots,

and put a white jade ring on your finger.

Mind of Fire

The shadow on the wall grows wings —

The shadow grows

white flame

in the empty room, always empty. I’m here,

but gone into cold


as the shadow burns on, its wings now

nothing but fire, a frigid,

thinking inferno—

a fire stretching out time—its engine

like the pinprick of a

black hole

in this deserted house, where I know nothing but

my absence, and my place in

the conflagration—

my only home, where I began, where now

I’ve ended into


quiet—a dream an ancient blizzard had,

the one with the mind

of fire.


Fly, fall,


into ruin,

into blue

doom, fly,

falling in dark

matter, away,

down the galaxy


to a black hole.

Sink away, out

of yourself,


and burning

moon, faithful

friend, even in

your calamity,

and in my own

and final



I’ve ruined so many pages of my life---

dog-eared, stained, and burned them out back

in a furniture fire.

My book

goes unfinished and unread,

neglected and left in abandoned houses

where it wilts into dusklight

and knows only graves

of the dust . . .


drain from its pages

as I become, myself, a single word

lost somewhere, wilting and withering

on the last page of a book.


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