People in the Wind

Inside the wood stove the smith steadies,
proclaims his alliance with flame as
heat quickens his hammer. And the singer, at first
inaudible, fashions her rising song from seasons
stored within logs of seasoned cherry, birch.

I have delighted in their concert
winter days and nights, rapt before
doors framed in brass, their
glass etched with twin wreaths. Circles
that focused wonders I am about to mention:
livid saints and salamanders,
paraphernalia of magicians
performing—with blue fluidity—
their act without their masters.
   And always before curtain, the casket
split asunder, the thief’s hand passing over 
unattainable gems.

But now there are people in the wind;
the chimney sucks them down. I hear the
singer inhale a choir; voice of thousands.
A purity of anguish to leave the listener
breathless. The notes, the notes are inferno;
the smith beats out a knell.
Those ashes I spill tomorrow
upon freshly fallen snow
have already blown for days across the city.

Copyright © 2005 by Margot Farrington. From Flares and Fathoms. Reprinted with permission of Bright Hill Press.