A Burning Man

“From Above” By Fabrice Poussin


By Karine Ancellin

(Dedicated to Panos Kokkinidis and family)

Amongst Athens’ top pastry chefs

Panos Kokkinidis

was spending a warm summer day near Mati,

a picturesque beach town, suave and lovely

on the Aegean shore of Greece.


He had mastered the art of fire

crafting innovational delicacies,

well-known with the Athenian literati.


So when the grey flames came blazing towards him,

his wife, his children, and his mother,

he took his phone out and began filming,

not knowing what was to come.

He posted the agonizing video,

struck by this monumental inferno,

a slithering, colossal ember moving

like an incandescent dragon approaching

denser and closer,

scorching the children and elderly first,

threatened and afraid,

all scampered, fast

the somber smoke asphyxiating

as the diabolical flares

crawled black into their flesh.




Panos perished,

a burning man,

the flames had devoured their master.


A plastic dumpster melted in its own carcass

the fire had a Daliesque rage.

Scattered burnt doors fume,

carbonized peeled cables

much like macabre carnations,

sardonic skeletons of electric metal boxes

dangled on worn-out weeping walls

their imperial power annihilated,

a waste of human sacrifice.


The tranquil blue now nags at the blanket of silver ash-dust,

why is its turquoise so arrogant, so indifferent?

Is there no suffering in this crystal sea?


The fire had devastated the lands

leaving nothing to soothe the empty hands.

Death was irrevocable,

nothing to hang on to for rebirth,

not a thing not turned to ashes.


How will any phoenix rise from these stale and sterile cinders?

No remnants of the sounds of laughter

—where will the birds land?