Donald Illich


The days I was on fire it never rained.

I turned to smoke, spread myself


across the valley.  Smothering people,

stinging their eyes, I regretted


what I had become.  Soon, I spread

out so far I had disintegrated.


I woke as a boy again, playing with matches.

I struck one after another, seeking


a spark.  Each time I could formulate

warmth, a storm charged over


the horizon.  I learned how to freeze

to death, watched my skin shine blue.


My breath left my body without

a letter home.  Waking the next day,


the sun didn't wait.  It corralled me

with flames.  It told me to become ashes.

Donald Illich has published work in The Iowa Review, Nimrod, LIT, Sixth Finch, and other journals. He's been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He lives in Maryland, where he works as a technical writer.

Posted on December 14, 2015 .