Susan Elbe



Mine is flinty at best, a fire struck with stone and char.
Cluttered with the junk
of music and metaphor,
it sometimes moves
through me brumal and wracked.

When it’s gone, I grow foot-sore from pacing,
hand-wrung, nail-bitten
with fear it will never come back.

: :

But then, it does with its yes and now, bringing both

the tiny storms of summer—
the deep after-rain smell of earth—

and the sorry news of the world,

all of it sweeping toward me from a great far away.

: :

I hold out my hands for its must-have grace.

: :

Put in motion under a weld of stars
when good times are scarce,

it comes as a bridge I am called to cross,
cables harping in the wind,

the Milky Way falling toward me but not quite.

: :

Never the same, it comes back.
I put my hand into its fire
until there’s no more pain,

nothing left
but clean white bones

and my mouth
something like prayer.


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