number 12

little steel is left in this blade
no more cuts through sinew
and no marks will its dulled edge leave
no shadows to be interpreted

and if by chance
it manages to wound
the blood it spills now
dribbles out
pale as water
too weak to leave a stain

flame enough in the candle
to cast a feeble glow
abundant illumination to see
the nothings hidden in corners
cobwebs filled with spider corpses
the flies too tired to fly
too dead to buzz
or reflect the light
in dazzling greens and blues

sheath the sword
in its rotting scabbard
and work up enough spit
for your fingers
to snuff the candle
so that the wick doesn’t have
the audacity to curl smoke
like a promise
like a memory