When the end came, the surprise was that it was no surprise. There was a calm, no struggle or wailing, they say, their reports arriving in bundles, soft sacks stuffed with something irresistible, the shape compelling us to guess: what. Who dares pull the string that keeps a bundle closed, and finger within all that was abandoned, then finally gathered as words, a gift?
Those who survived, flesh and blood among the remains of that ancient wooden town, say the noise was such as one expects to belch from the throat of hell. And yet the most beautiful sky, the night red, banks of smoke that intimated mountains, and through it all, silver flecks like snow in the sun floating to the earth. People left their cellars to watch it, the end they knew was coming, a vision of the world without past or future. Do not let it startle you, this idea of observing the beauty of ruin, unsurprised.