Self-Portrait as Broken Fog Machine

Nesting on the outline of a window
a little broken handle used to turn

the grating system now clogged with rust
& silt. I once clouded rooms one

was afraid to stay in for fast escape.
Back then you could place your lips

on the center hole & blow to start
the steam churning. This kind of work

blotted out the sun on a June day. Masked
the open blue sky with a thick gray

making each seer drunk. On my last
day you held me close to your heaving

middle, fingers in every open corner try-
ing to turn me on. Chaffed ash singed

your face as I steamed to life, groaning
under heavy pressure. I broke from burning

too hot, from rolling smoke that scorched
your throat. Cut this body into slats

then stack me out back next
to the coal hole. First, throw one last

pebble down my esophagus so I know
how a soul might one day feel.