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About this Poem 

"A dremel is a tool used for etching and engraving glass. To say more about this poem's content would trespass against the desire of the poem. Despite living in the 'information age,’ this poem wants very badly to say these words and no more."

—Katie Ford

The Fire

Katie Ford

When a human is asked about a particular fire,
she comes close:
then it is too hot,
so she turns her face—

and that’s when the forest of her bearable life appears,
always on the other side of the fire. The fire
she’s been asked to tell the story of,
she has to turn from it, so the story you hear
is that of pines and twitching leaves
and how her body is like neither—

all the while there is a fire
at her back
which she feels in fine detail,
as if the flame were a dremel
and her back its etching glass.

You will not know all about the fire
simply because you asked.
When she speaks of the forest
this is what she is teaching you,

you who thought you were her master.

Copyright @ 2014 by Katie Ford. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 14, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Katie Ford. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 14, 2014.

Katie Ford

Katie Ford

Katie Ford is the author of Blood Lyrics (Graywolf Press, 2014). She lives in Philadelphia.

by this poet

poem
Koi
After all the days and nights we've spent 
with Starry Messenger, with Dante, 
with Plato, his temperance
painted as a woman who pours 
water into a bowl but does not spill, 
after particle theory and the geologic time of this quartz 
gilded beneath the roaming gone, 
composites of limestone calculated
poem
I began to see things in parts again,
segments, a pen drawn against the skin
to show where to cut, lamppost through the stained glass
with its etchings of light against the wall —
it was the middle of the night. It was something we would tell no one:
The hospital roads with standing water, I drove quickly
poem
I failed him and he failed me—
Together our skinned glance makes a sorry bridge 
For some frail specter who can't get through.

I failed him 
               but maybe it was the lamp that failed,
Maybe it was the meal,
Maybe it was the potter 
Who would not intervene, maybe the clay, 
Maybe the plateau's topaz,