blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Juliet and Fire

            And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
            Myself condemned and myself excused.

The arrival of a tedious afternoon of low intent
is a boon for Juliet because it is
perfectly suited for fire,

which she and her friend raise behind the fence
from sullen sticks of weeds,

bits of shirts, shreds of school papers,
grayed Popsicle sticks,
and their hair as tinder,

which they light with a practiced flourish
from flattened, well-secreted matches.

They urge the fire on with phlegmy incantations,
shrilly whispers, syllables glutted with vowels
howled at various pitches and oscillations,

until the embers bloom into glowing fissures
into which Juliet sends her eye as a spelunker

twisting through a phosphorescent Eden
as if she could enter the brightest mouth
and not return. 

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