from The World Doesn’t End

by Charles Simic

My mother was a braid of black smoke.

She bore me swaddled over the burning cities.

The sky was a vast and windy place for a child

to play.

We met many others who were just like us.

They were trying to put on their overcoats with

arms made of smoke.

The high heavens were full of little shrunken

deaf ears instead of stars.

copyright 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985 by Charles Simic

printed with permission of the author