OBERON poetry magazine


Matt Hohner's Curfew

After the Baltimore riots, April 27, 2015


From the Old French, covrefeu, literally. (it) covers

(the) fire. See cover. See fire. Hear the church bell

toll the hour to cover the hearth fire with ashes.

To prevent conflagrations from untended fires.

His eyelids swollen shut; the police van a sealed casket.

The lids of ten thousand prescriptions, empty pill-bottle

shells looted from pharmacies under flickering streetlight.

See what burned under the cover of night, what simmered

under the cover-up. See smoke signals rise at sky's edge.

Spell it with a blanket that covers and uncovers. Spell

conflagration. Write the destructive burning of a building,

town, or forest in blood-soot across the underbellies of ten

thousand vacant clouds. Spell mayday, that muscle-sear

of rage. Spell justice, that bitter ache. Hear sirens long

into the dark hours, then the odd quiet of empty streets.

Taste the legacy of corpses in the embers glowing at dawn.