The wind, first, brushing the flames eastwards towards the city, the green dust of traffic and
dying chameleons. I haven’t seen their faces, but standing at the blue corner shop selling
Granada bars and cheap shampoo, I can smell burnt hair. The girls in uniforms still like owls
on a starless night, their siblings puking, covering eyes that won’t close. What’s there to
learn? Starve, but don’t steal. The stench of dying men is rancid pork in the square, the toes
melting, blackened. There never were greens and reds and purples except this tree upon
which they hang, two thieves, flaming and fuming. The crowd is a torchlight of anger
glowing when the night is out. The tree, still burning, reeks of something human.
Abigail Ardelle Zammit is from Malta and has had poetry published in a variety of international journals including Boulevard, Gutter, Myslexia, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Ekphrastic Review, Aesthetica, Iota, and Tupelo Quarterly. Abigail’s two collections of poetry are Voices from the Land of Trees (Smokestack, 2007), and Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin (SPM, 2015).