Eight hours ago it ended
in a faded, generic motel.
We loved one last time--
        I held you,
afraid of the mourning
the morning would bring.

In a black plastic ashtray,
by two rusted wedding rings
a cigarette flickered--
went out.
A gray thread of smoke
spiralled to nothing.

I looked at the ashes and knew
they remembered
how it felt to be flame.

@ 1995
Daryl Hrdlicka