Elizabeth Wylder

Clark Street, 1871

The beauty of a fire hot enough to liquefy iron
is not what it destroys but what it creates:

how melted marbles are a prismatic galaxy-knot,
only the size of your fist and waiting for a bang;

how, fused together, slate pencils become muscle,
ribbed and contracted, slow twitch wood;

how it is impossible to tell the ivory billiard ball
was burned, or why that is what he chose to save.


The milk — it coats my stomach:
a blackboard’s worth of chalky flakes
to cushion the boozy relapse-blow,
the lessons unlearned, cold and
             a snowdrift to bury my
flushed face, my chapped, red
hands in; a white cloud
in which to dizzy-sleep and plead —
make me pure; just not yet.

About the author

12.4 (Summer 2008)   The 2River View