A Study in Smoke

And should the stars dim
way before morn
as a shadow passes overhead
silent, gliding between roof and sky
we know to ready, in our sleep,
glistening machinery
to catch more answers in a web
of coils and questions:
notebooks at hand
to say the word, hear the word
checklists open, screens alight
shadow brought in, machine whirring
with imaging but
artifacts, nothing but artifacts
and flames and smoke,
equipment broken
the shadow sliding away