When the gifts he had to give had been given

and there was no where else for him to go, he realized

there would be no respite, that one job, one association,

can result only in obligations, not merely to himself,

but to all those sad, bitter, though ostensibly grateful

creatures for whom he had been, he had thought, such a benefit.

In neither up nor down was there any expectation

for escape, and to remain where he was,

in this kind of a Limbo, and to which

he himself had been the most munificent contributor,

did not appear to be an acceptable option.

Everywhere the fumes, the smoke,

the runaway wildfires, filled the atmosphere.

The gift’s recipients had a new plaything,

and they were making the most of it.

It was all so disheartening.

When the others had chided him,

saying, “give them a match,

and they’ll build atomics,” he had scoffed:

naively anticipating intelligence.

But here it was already happening,

and all those beliefs: in gods, devils, magic,

seemed to provide humanity

with a Carte Blanche of denial,

a “hot potato”,

to be flung away in revulsion.

So once more consumed by guilt.

He lay back on the stone

of his choosing, and begged,

lacking mortality,

for some kind of expiation.