On the Occasion of a Book Burning That Very Nearly Happened


The heat keeps them rooted.
Heat within, heat without.
Flame refracted in the congregation’s eyes,
their own matchheads hidden
in the quiet space behind the pupil.

Not eyes, perhaps, but stones.
Until the sun tugs the clouds from its face
and stones are flesh again
blue and green and brown
raised to the sky, watching
solid smoky arms
drag heaven closer to their haloed heads.

Just in time to burn words from the earth.
Just in time to cut the tongue from the head.
Just in time to take faith-hardened hands
and work a nation’s soft spot as a boxer would.


When the first match hit the pile
it was like remembering how home looks
returning after a long run of hard luck.
How it seems to have swung just fine
on its own swing without anyone there to push.

The world rotates filled with other little worlds rotating in it.
Gears in a clock grind time along,
entwined as completely as lovers.

The universe’s heart is a ruined house.
Written on the door is this:
you cannot do a thing that has not already been done.

One day the door will open.
The shadows in the windows will stand still.
A pile of ash in a clenched fist will turn to blood.
Blood which will letter pages of a new book.
And the door will shut again.

Grant Loveys lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His work has appeared in numerous literary publications. He was awarded the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Award for poetry.