Author: James Callan

Picking up the pieces is useless, a failed enterprise, like eating bisque with a fork. The bits that were my lover are like autumn leaves late in the season, too many to count, frayed, half-liquefied, one with the mud. I hold what may have been her brains, the organ of her sharp intellect, as memory cells containing our lives spill through my trembling fingers to join the detritus of a war-torn urban ruin. Satellites dot the sky, daytime stars, raining death and doom, laser beams and radiation. Tallies of hot hues, angry, searing tears, streak vertical to mar the tender, baby blue above, now blemished with deep bruises of billowing black smoke. The stones beside my bent legs vibrate; in a dead world, the inanimate come alive. My gaze falls to the earth, the rubble before me, the sullied puddles of groundwater coming up from the big blast. Among the charred fragments of obliterated landscape, the molten corners of toppled buildings, fallen giants, I recognize the anklet she wore, blackened and broken, the vague outline of her delicate foot. I take the trinket for a keepsake, a memento of our love, and cough among the scattered ash, the cloud of black that is her ankle turned to dust, airborne, like an angel off to a far better place.