We circle ‘round
a bonfire at midnight.
The fire is warm, and dangerous.
We can’t turn our faces
away from its seductions
yet only get so close.
Next gray morning it feels safe
to poke the nest of ash and char
with a cold black stick,
looking for the truth of fire
in what is left behind.
But, O Soul, don’t hide
your face and wait like that; turn
over the crimson ember-eggs
of desire buried in ash; pile on
dried spikenard and fig,
almond and cherry; smell
as they crackle to life; feel
your flame-wings rise up!
Top: Costume Design for The Firebird, by Leon Bakst
Bottom: Cover of the book The Firebird, by Konstantin Somov-