South of Boston


The two men are standing on the side of

The road, the threshold of the field before

Them, and the fire from the barn can be felt

A hundred yards away, a soft, warm prickle.


The two are silent, and from the first to

The second, one passes a joint to the

Other, a careful pinch of the paper.


“It’s been burning since last night.”


“Surely not.”


“I’m not lying.”


And the barn was burning, all through the night

And the morning. The rapture of the ash

And the little flames was a dancing, fleeting

Affair, stretching the orange ghosts into

A miraculous, matte blue cloud. They smoke.


“It’s really been burning all night?”


“All morning too.”


“Damn.” – long inhale – “Even candles only have so much wax.”


Long exhale. The two men, although they are

Really not even men, the two men watch

From across the long field, backs to the road,

The liminal dome connecting their globe

to the sky and the barn and the rapture.


There are cars, for it is noon, or rather

There must now be cars, for it is noon, but

None stop and no one stands on the road with

The two boys to watch the fire, to watch the

Barn slowly ebb away and lose its mettle.


“You have any butts?”


“Not with me” – tapping his jacket’s sides.


There is a path through the field, made with feet,

A little ways to their left. There is no crop;

The field is completely, surely dead.

And so the path is the only thing in

The field, the only human connection

Between the boys and the barn, the great fire.


“It’s pretty hot as is.”


“I shouldn’t get any closer.”


And the rapture is beautiful before

Them and to the entire world around them,

And no cars stop to watch heaven’s calling

And no man or boy hears a father’s call

Until the fire has ascended on past

The gold, the white, the leaves, the blue, the stars.


“Sure is a good fire, though.”


BIO: Jacob Johnson is a fiction and poetry writer from Massachusetts.

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