Die Muhle Brennt—Richard
(after a painting by Georg Bazelitz)
When the red chair suspended in air grazes the top of your head and the white pitcher that rests on the chair neither falls nor spills, you will move to the window, or the empty space in the wall left by the guns on the hill just outside the city, and be amazed at the mill ablaze in the distance, the loud report of dry beams knuckled under heat, the carousel of shadows spun around the orange center of the flames, because you know this cannot happen here or because you know the mill's been on fire for so long that the city's been consumed entirely and the heat from the mill has blistered the red paint on the chair and dried the water from the pitcher, and, if you wait one more instant, afraid that it is too late, it will be too late, and the chair and pitcher will drift through your hair as ash.
Copyright © 2002 by Richard Matthews. Reprinted with the permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.