You who burned so brightly!
What happened to those eyes
That glew with white-hot fire
Enticing but too hot to touch
Full of life and lust and love?

When you cried, the Earth itself
Shuddered in its grief:
Wanting to cradle its only child
But frightened of sharp teeth.

Too quick to follow, your movements,
From place to place, lithe;
Barely there, but once you left
The empty air would cry,

“oh bring her back! Back home to us,
for without her we are cold,
frozen and unfeeling,
dull and prematurely old.”

You were never unsympathetic
But those cries fell on deaf ears.
Dancing flames scorch merrily
In spite of sweat or tears.

But that was then-

And this: this brittle shadow,
Vague imprint, faint echo,
This is the fire now;
Get on your knees and scour the ashes
for the who, and why, and how.

I, in shock, begin my task
Without you, and in doubt.
And I, alone, now dumbly ask,
“what, then, can be spared?”

Time itself might stop to say,
“yes: this time, I cared.”