Through the Fire

“Ricorditi, ricorditi!” (Remember, remember!) 
                                  ~ Dante, Purgatorio 27.22 

Before morning, birdcalls ringing: 
widening circles around  where we lie, arms 
still wrapped around each other in the dark. 

And who will break the silence first 
today, before it lights its thousand
fires? After surrendering 

the condition of dream, we could give 
ourselves to the work that our hands 
and bodies do without even 

needing to think—last night's dishes, 
clothes stained with mud or musk; dust 
in the corners, weeds that overtake

plots in the garden. Or we could give
ourselves to that other condition 
which leads the mind into chamber 

after nautilus chamber of contemplative 
bliss: art, science, thought. Are they so 
different? With each there's margin for all 

sorts of error. Which is to say: under the first 
leaves, that first, drawn morning, what we call 
snake was only the rustle of thought blooming

into desire into hands reaching for the bolder 
color of experience. In either case, the world 
before us was already changing; changed. 

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