Saudade [What is destined to burn, burns]; Saudade [In my daydream, a bush engulfed by flames]

Jim Whiteside


What is destined to burn, burns.
The rest stays solid, unmoving. The last

time he closed the door between us, the latch
rang, and I sensed for the first time myself

in relation to the room around me:
dust in the air illuminated, our favorite

record still on the turntable, diamond-tip needle
suspended, playing the room’s silence. What’s

destined to burn, burns. Dug further,
the well once more gives water.


In my daydream, a bush engulfed by flames
but not consumed. A voice asks if I want

more coffee, if I’ll be buying anything else,
and the diner forms around me. It is night,

I’m losing track of time. Across the street
the giant neon cowboy spins above the mobile

home dealer—metal frame, exaggerated
ten-gallon hat, illuminated. I have practiced

this existence: standing in a room tuning
a violin, its hollow body full of ash.

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