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By Erich von Hungen

The siren rips its way along the dark cloth.

We wake.

We have no idea

what it’s saying,

why it’s now screaming it.

Someone is dying?

Someone is burning?


Where exactly?

We have no idea.

Men stamping to stay warm.


metal rimmed, cold,

pressed tight to our skin.

The gurney wheels,

their grit crushing sound,

their squeak,

their rush.


colder still.

A voice like anger suppressed.

A door,

that awful thud.


That makes two.

That sound again,

that ripping,

and then we know.

We understand

the night is tearing,

and we are falling through.

The siren,

like a scream,

is just so much breathing,

breath that is passing,

that is itself falling through.

Death comes, yet still survives,

for we hold it, there our candle,

whether we would dare to know.

The fabric splits from overuse,

the candle flares and,

like a friend,

it clears the way,

it sees us through

whether we would ourselves dare to know.


Erich von Hungen currently lives in San Francisco, California. His writing has appeared in The Colorado Quarterly, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Write Launch, The Ravens Perch, From Whispers To Roars, Punk Noir, Not Deer Magazine, Sledgehammer, Anti-Heroin Chic and others.

He has recently launched four collections of poems: "Witness: 100 Poems For Change", "Bleeding Through: 72 Poems Of Man In Nature", "Kisses: 87 Love Poems", and "In Spite Of Contagion, 65 COVID-19 Poems". You can find him on Twitter.


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