How did it end? What dealt the fatal blow?
Did it burn like a house with a faulty kitchen stove?
If we’d sifted the ashes, would we have found a clue?
No ashes now, just the syllables of doves.
Were there warning signs? Did they send a boy for water?
Not a soul is left to ask; everyone’s gone.
And now that it’s over, how seems not to matter.
The doves remain, ash-humble in the sun.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 41 Number 2, on page 37
Copyright © 2022 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com