Poem – Interstate Pyre Song (By Josh Lowder)
Interstate Pyre Song
‘An alleged arsonist started a fire that burnt
up a concrete bridge near Atlanta, GA.
The FBI found no connections to terrorism.’
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Do not go nearer the first responder—
I fear for the yellow-clad men
blinded by more than the news-miner’s
smile. The intrepid reporter projects
across the room at me with a face,
over hours, soon smelted of its rest.
The flickering frame of pixelating rain
squelches the not-here, on-location
scene of billowing black smoke that chokes
the ribboning sky of its high blue above.
The bridge burns from beneath after a cracked head
lights a chair set in a buggy and kicks it
into corrugated conduit coils stacked haphazardly,
forgotten there by the city’s utilities.
Rush hour hits NE Atlanta: a snarl well into night.
Folli-cool’s Fashion Wigs empties onto Piedmont:
the hair models molt in the fried air:
neighbors in adult novelties eject a handful of shifty
miscreants, newborns bathed of blasphemy
in the sear-waves that emanate.
Released, the four Carolina-bound lanes crumble,
splash into burning plastic, release the devil’s belch—
a toxic ball of autumnal orange:
a pumpkin at sunset rolls upward, becomes
a burnt cauliflower false as night.
It chimneys above the pie-eyed afeared
bowing to their torched commute before
flames are tamed, the night’s rain brings steam
to the air around the macadam melt-heap: I can’t help
but recall the collapse of another rock-
solid structure that burnt fast into jagged rebar—
steel fingers dripped more firmament dust.
Still-lit sirens sing the neighbors awake.
Author Bio: Josh Lowder
Josh received his Poetry MFA from College of Charleston in 2018, where he won the First Crazyhorse MFA Poetry Prize, has contributed at Sewanee Writers Conference, road-managed bands like Fu-Manchu, and appeared for Adult Swim in ‘Too Many Cooks’.