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My little boy and I are standing
in front of the Reichstag, which is burning
and coalescing with rich and complicated
history right there in front of us, but
he doesn’t particularly care, in fact
he’s not even looking at the damn thing,
having focused all his attention instead
on a tiny, intricately tattooed
black and red beetle at his feet.

A firebug, he says, and I know he’s right
because we looked it up online last week.
You see them all the time here in Berlin,
or at least he does, and there is really nothing
more exciting for him, at least at the moment,
than to see a firebug moving through the grass.

And I know that the Firebug Era will soon
come to an end, to be replaced by the
Getting Stoned and Drunk and Calling Me
from Jail Era, to be followed by
the Buying His First Condom Era
which in time will lead to the Moving
Into His Own Place Era which I fear

because my own Ice Age is not that far off
and I will not roam the Earth much longer,
huge and carnivorous and terrifying,
frightening smaller creatures with my roar,
lowering my great bulk to kneel alongside
a small boy to watch the firebug, inscribed
with its ancient and inscrutable hieroglyphics,
crawl past us in front of some old building.

—from Central Air, available on Amazon


“Our children remind us that we all begin life as poets, attentive to the tiniest of the world’s beauties.”

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