Song for Tinderbox


“...may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy” Charles Wright



I


We are born with phosphorous in our throats:

Scrimshawed on our bones

From the moment air set flame to our lungs

As our tongues approached voice and met the first crack of light,

The combustion of soul allowed,

Once the opening of our mother’s womb had been breached

Our son the click of tin against wood

The langue and league of life

A child’s first sentence swells as a song for a tinderbox and arced into light.

Do you celebrate this sound on the anniversary of your birth?


Open your eyes and tear the night down


II


Uncover yourself an instrument and caress it with a match

Or the knowledge of your fingertips passed

Your heart a disease of incandescence

The voice a dictionary of incendiary truths.

Listen to the eruption of the match bead struck singularly

This fable of your life—

Geography still long stained on your fingers

From a worn map veined colorful by countries and silhouetted by dreams.


Taste the ink married to your tongue

The kindred fruit epicurean of your touch 

Even after it has passed through warm rivers and memory.

Do you celebrate this sound on the anniversary of your birth?


In the light, there is always strength stringing from the shadows.


III


You were born applied by this calculus

Savor it, as the warmth of a palm teaching you skin its alphabet

As the brush of wind lingers through the spine of a tree,

While the cicada’s shell falls like your mother’s hair into your small, tender hairs, 

As you ran laughing through summer’s breeze.

So too your name,

The hymn scratched on air and set later by machine and ink pressed to page

Do you celebrate this sound on the anniversary of your birth?


What once flowered, spread wide petal by petal as a kite in the green air, survives

the dragon’s dragging the sky behind.


IV


Between the editing of soft blue rain on the anniversary of your birth,

Allow the moment its agile grace

And the glycerin in your throat to pass, almost absent, as a kiss

The belly of a dropped pouches of rain attaches itself to your heart

Like candled sleep, the punch in the night

To even the lightest fragility of the country of a face, forgotten.

Do you celebrate this sound on the anniversary of your birth?


The untangled tangled knot of the taste left inside you after her tooth marks

As meteoritic trace.

A fingered tinderbox left small explosions along your spine, 

The more permanent tattoo

Charting an adagio rondo pattern —given your ineffable place.

Your ineffable name


Celebrate this carving on your anniversary,

When life entered you and born up each of us from your spreading

Warmed by others’ lyric caressed slowly and ballooned from recognition

Forgiven as the wine banned from that inherited place of tomb and temple

Ripening.

Do you celebrate this sound on the anniversary of your birth?


V


The ghost scribbling songs in the back of your heart and throat

Rivering through death toward life in the blink of an eye.


Do you celebrate this, ever?




for: Dima, Brandon and Nate Black