The Flue

Ancient hands calloused and wrinkled
pinch and pull the paper into a spread plume
and with a scratch they light the edges
that flicker orange with air and pull
in as white becomes black dust that falls
onto a nest woven with green kindling and splintered 
stumps hollowed by ant tunnels 
stacked between burnt cheeks of cherub andirons
and create a wind that echoes against itself
along the sootglazed tunnel as the draft 
tears apart the paper from which it came
and raises the pieces towards an empty darkness
that swirls in directionless breeze and carries 
the remains off into the dogwood grove

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