A furnace at the lowest depth
burns every manuscript down to one word.
That word cannot be put here.
It contains and overthrows
any attempt at being charted.
There is no thread of a fuse
to destroy it.
This word resembles nothing
heard or spoken.

I read a volume:
empty, with only smudges of ash.
I know that other fingers
have turned these pages,
like eyes that open and close in the dark.
For hours, a dog barks, and I sleep
a polite, shallow sleep.

Today, the dream that lingers
is a tight fistful of nonsense
no one could unravel—no one.
But the fragment where you, my mother,
hold up your shirt to show keloid scars
opens the fist in my mind:
not empty, for it makes the sign
for either “bright” or “wait.”


Adam King resides in Silver City, NM, and is currently finding (or losing) himself in writing fiction and learning the art of fairy tale interpretation.

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