Up There the Mountains Burn Worse by Tom Snarsky

They tell you a story with a giant pause
in the middle: we were lost in thick mists
until somebody found us, brought us

a coat and their warm company, told us
not to worry. Then we woke up next to the
corpse of that somebody, holding an empty

vial that we don’t remember ever having
picked up, we’re terribly thirsty and there’s
no one else around who’s still alive. Cut to

after the giant pause, when even we have
fallen asleep. Now that no one’ll overhear—
not even us—go ahead and tell me that

awful secret you’re keeping from everyone,
even your lovers and your closest friends.
The curtain is still down and the house lights

are still up. So go slow. We have the whole intermission.


Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School. He lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts among stacks of books and ungraded papers with his fiancée Kristi and their two cat children, Niles and Daphne.

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