Air Quality Alert

by Lorraine Schein

Failed spells of dying witches      
who twisted time to live forever,
wraiths bloody the sky bright orange,
smear the blue with their gray grudges,
emit undying embers of fury
like the first black stars.

Wraiths inhale dying fires,
thrust smoldering tongues
of bitter smoke into your mouth
the scent like burnt roses thorning your throat.

Their faces are sooty holes, where
particulate matter floats,
cradled within a carapace of bones. 

Eyes colorless with noxious ozone,
their stare sickens, free-floats anxiety
that pollutes your dreams.

Vengeful, displaced ghosts,
they roam the world
to capture the souls of human hosts, 
who must wander with them endlessly.

Defied, they rage,
radiate shimmering waves
of thermal energy
that leave entire cities wanting to die.

Crumpled sulfurous corpses 
stream hissing into the afterlife 
reek gasoline fumes, smell like
the stinking excrement in ancient latrines. 

We are smoke too—
one day we will dissipate
with this vaporous world. 

Lorraine Schein is a New York writer and poet. Her work has appeared in VICE Terraform, Strange Horizons, Scientific American, NewMyths and Michigan Quarterly, and in the anthologies Wild Women and Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana del Rey & Sylvia Plath. Her book, The Lady Anarchist Cafe, is out now from Autonomedia and on Amazon.