This entry is part 79 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


All night the beggar queen dreams
on her throne of words, striking
match head after match head to flush

the dawn sky salmon. I watched it
change color that way only once, sleeping
on a beach in a borrowed blanket.

Sandpipers and gulls left imprints
on wet sand. Above, birds flew
ahead of a curtain of coming rain.

The air smelled of sulphur,
of phosphorus, of gunpowder—
residue of some resplendent

catastrophe, as if a column of fire
or a city were burning somewhere;
as if a fire-stealer were returning

to the world red-handed. Glowing baton
in each hand, mouth full of knowledge:
heart an ember oblivious to danger.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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4 Replies to “Fire-stealer”

  1. Glowing baton/ in each hand, mouth full of knowledge:/ heart an ember oblivious to danger.


    It is a fiery birthing: after the lonely call
    of the last gull that darts after the last
    glow of sundown; after the sandpiper’s
    song peters out to a lost bird’s chirp;
    after all the images have crept under
    these breakwater boulders to surface
    perhaps as frenzied dancers casting
    shadows swaying underneath this tent,
    this caravanserai of dreams; after this,
    on a throne of palaver, a fire-bearer
    lights the torches that fence us all in.

    Like Apollo’s captives, we cup flames
    in our palms and sing polyglot hymns
    to the beauty of words while we shower
    our paths with pellets of fire, as we crown
    the beggar queen with a flaming nosegay.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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