watch the tendrils
of smoke dance
before being whisked away.
sitting on the porch railing
his book open beside me
as he searches for
the meaning of life.
he could give
the chemical formula
of the ash
from his cig
but not the balanced equation
he said our lives are like shooting stars
streaking across the time continuum,
bright and white hot
here one second and then gone.
and then he said
i don’t want to be a shooting star.
i want my life to make an impression
like the hale-bopp comet.
people placed their hopes and dreams
on that comet.
i want someone
i want to be their savior
their dying breath
their glimmer of hope
when nothing’s left.
is that so wrong to ask?
i just want to mean something to someone.
we all want to mean something to someone.
he said fire,
it’s the ash of a thousand hopes burned away.
but ashes can be restored to flame.
these shattered hopes can be restored to dreams.
like a phoenix
that rises from the ashes enveloped in flames,
they are majestic and yet fragile.
he said be careful not to crush them.
but he is slaughtering his own dreams
by giving up
and throwing away all he'd worked for.
like the dying ember
he flicked off the porch,
his hope fades by the day.
how much longer until it's gone?
he should have followed his dreams
instead of watched them all burn
but he just let them all burn.
says he's too tired
tired of trying,
maybe someday he'll realize
the potential buried within
before all that's left of his ambition
is just the ashes—
a memory of what he could have become
blown away by the wind.