Between the gas and the can
my lower leg disappeared
in a blue and orange flame.
Nothing is more articulate than fire.
It moves in slow motion
at the speed of light,
a ragged language, raw and messy,
that leaves a shattered
chugging trail of shadows and debris,
the charred coals of a formerly
living thing. Fire never mutters.
It barks with surprise,
then shrieks, tears apart the precision
of speech, and leaves a soiled scar
of broken sentences.
Impaled on a spit,
clarity returns in a burst.
Thirty-five years ago, what
hung a flaming necktie round
my tender brain, and begged through
the spindle of my body
for some sudden flash of truth?
Fire filled my veins.
Poetry pulled me out by the roots.