Charleston Rooftops

Everything that lifts into the air
has purpose: even the granite tipped war
monument rising above palmetto trees
points like an arrow toward the sun;
chimneys, stove pipes, weather vanes and steeples—
the flag at half mast, flapping in the wind.
Streets clog with memories of smoke tinged wind—
of a dark sky on fire fueling the air,
flames swirling around steeples,
and a harbor blocked by ships of war.
Cannons fired toward the ever present sun
until the avenues lined with oak trees
were abandoned, and the trees
thrust transcendent into the wind
reached like prayers toward the sun.
Odors of ruin and rot lingered in the air
above the streets emptied by war;
the bells silent in the steeples.

Beyond scaffold enshrouded steeples,
sunlight weaves through leaf-thick oak trees
now filled with blossom and song, though war
saturates the brick and memory of wind
spinning with salt through summer air
that simmers beneath the blood streaked sun.
Red runs through ribbons of sun
across the skyline and steeples
lifting off tin sloped roofs into air
filled with flowering trees.
Always the tireless ocean wind
ripples the worn-out flags of war.
The names of the enemy change, but war
is the inscrutable language spoken beneath this sun.
The flag at half-mast, stiffens in the wind.
Funeral bells sound from the steeples.
In the cemetery, beneath the oak trees,
taps linger on the broken air.
The sounds of war will rumble in the wind.
As steeple bells call through the sun filled air,
birds nest in trees twisting toward heaven.

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