An inch of ash has formed on the grate, and no birds sing;
They stopped when we did and without fuel, the fire consumed itself.
Light was lost.
Silent nausea grew
And we stared at the mantelpiece, taking turns to avoid each other.
An eagle gazed back at us in curiosity
Which sat beside the nausea
But did not overpower it, so no conversation began,
And we felt it.
(Again in turns, we glanced at the ash but stayed nauseated and cold,
Silently passing the buck, half hoping someone else would start it,
Half hoping for an end)
We felt the snow hitting the roof as if it was us,
We felt each other’s shivers as if they were ours,
We heard our quiet in its reluctant embrace
But feared speech.
Mundane exchanges had passed
And to kindle again would be topics too profound, too personal and we feared our persons,
Because our secrets were shameful and ours to keep.
Our souls became beasts of burden; a burden never shared,
Waiting for the first birdcalls of the morning,
Watching the ash be still like us,
When we could talk again, and then again avoid talking.
The photograph is taken from Arnaav Bhavanani’s album: [ˈPRAꞪA]