Everything is brushed away, off the sleeve, off the overcoat, huge ensembles of assertions just jars of buttons spilled, recurring nightmare of straw on fire, you the scarecrow, the scare, the crow, totems gone, rubies flawed, flamingo in hyena’s jaws, noble and lascivious mouth of the gods hovering then gone, gone the glances, gone moths, cities of crystal become cities of mud, centurion and emperor dust, the flower girl, some of it rises, proof? some of it explodes, vein in the brain, seed pod poof, maybe something will grow, another predicament of bittersweet, dreamfluff milkweed, declarations of aerosols, vows just sprays of spit fast evaporate, all of it pulverized as it hits the seawall, all of it falling snow on water, flash of flying fish, breach and blow and sinking, far below creatures of luminous jelly constellated and darting and baiting each other like last thoughts before sleep, last neural sparks coalescing as a face in the dark, who was she? never enough time to know.
Copyright © 2011 by Dean Young. Reprinted from Fall Higher with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.
We’ve turned our walks into finding things
that catch fire easily, like us
our fascination with bush craft—
how to survive in a forest
without the conveniences
we have at home
the first human to discover fire
rubbed two stones together
friction is a good thing.
we have fun starting fires
scratching the Mora knife against the small iron rod
sending sparks into a nest of dried grass and fibrous barks
you put out the flame with the sole of your hiking boot
so we can begin, again
by the time we leave the forest,
we’ve discovered deer poo combusts easily
human hair doesn’t
I’ve given a lock and you’ve won the bet
By the time we leave
we’ve lost count of the fires we’ve started.
Copyright © 2015 Mildred Barya. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Quarterly. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Anna Akhmatova burned her poems and the light of Madrid was like water at La Latina luncheonette I ate a cup of chocolate and a motor oil churro every day for a week recovering ...the cherry bomb alley that was our street Hotel Chelsea ablaze from a rum-soaked pillow and a cigarette, 1977 iron balconies were dropping like lace windows were popping like sobs... "Can you describe this?" someone asked Anna Akhmatova as she stood on line "Yes" she said "I can"
Copyright © Tina Cane. Used with permission.