Sitting at a fire beneath the sycamore,
Karen asked if I remembered the day
I was born. “The day or the experience?”
“No, not the experience.”
I added a log
and crumpled newspaper—fire
for my birthday and some stars through
naked twigs. Izabella, who turned
eight the day before, came out—
using the flashlight on the emergency,
crank-up radio—to see the rabbits
in cages. She switched the radio on
and staticky voices chattered in the swale
between vinyl homes.
in the black cauldron, antique gift
from Romaine, who used it for flowers,
birthed sparks zigzagging
into the air below the web of sycamore
branches. Coals popped, but damp
night snuffed stray embers—
Gnostic symbol for the soul. Fire
from fire and back to fire. Not
what Kierkegaard said: born
from nothing, no history, into history
and bound by love beyond death:
the way we love our pets and want
them to live forever in animal heaven.
Why I shoveled the pink-skinned, miscarried
rabbit fetuses into the garden,
said a prayer, and put a red rock
over their grave—to keep the dog
from digging. (We didn’t know Lucky
was a girl and Luna was a boy. We put
them in a garage pen together
when the weather had turned rock cold.
The slow, crackling consumption of logs.
The sizzle of pine tar like chicken
skin on the grill. Orange pulsing,
glyphs communicating words I can’t
read. A syntactical energy as sure
and indiscipherable as the radio static.
Shipwrecked in space. Eminating
from the blue core of low-flickering
heat. Feeding on fuel at the center;
flicking into black night. A spark
clings to the ash that bears it up.
An upside-down meteor shower—
crackling logs, char and split.
Souls, offspring of the sun, reborn.