Jul 26, 2011

The Man With a Shirt of Fire

Written by Charles Rafferty

Read by Ada Limón

It wakes him up — the glow of his shirt
hanging in the bedroom closet,
the light leaking from beneath a door
that doesn’t quite want to close.
He is always thinking of a girl at such times,
the uneaten peach of her, the wetness
of where he might bite. The same light
follows him on midnight walks, a glare
that prevents him from enjoying
even the sharpest stars. Come morning
he takes down the shirt and buttons
around himself the familiar agony.
He knows it cannot be put out: The meadow
will blaze up if he rolls in the breeze
of its many fingers. The bouquet he picks
will droop and crisp before he can
make his way to her. Every night,
coming home alone, suffused with wine,
he is orbited by moths that flutter
and die beneath the million stars he has
never seen. He smells faintly of destruction,
the way a burnt-down house asserts itself
after even a misting of rain.