My Life's Calling
My life's calling, setting fires. Here in a hearth so huge I can stand inside and shove the wood around with my bare hands while church bells deal the hours down through the chimney. No more woodcutter, creel for the fire or architect, the five staves pitched like rifles over stone. But to be mistro-elemental. The flute of clay playing my breath that riles the flames, the fire risen to such dreaming sung once from landlords' attics. Sung once the broken lyres, seasoned and green. Even the few things I might save, my mother's letters, locks of my children's hair here handed over like the keys to a foreclosure, my robes remanded, and furniture dragged out into the yard, my bedsheets hoisted up the pine, whereby the house sets sail. And I am standing on a cliff above the sea, a paper light, a lantern. No longer mine to count the wrecks. Who rode the ships in ringing, marrying rock the waters storm to break the door, looked through the fire, beheld a clearing there. This is what you are. What you've come to.
Excerpted from Trapeze by Deborah Digges Copyright © 2004 by Deborah Digges. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.