A week of poems: Anna Jackson’s ‘Flammable’




The world was flammable, we knew it was.
Our hair lit up with candle-light, we peeled off
the wax from the table and made it into
something beautiful, tender as the high voices
of the castrati, fine as smoke through the grain
of an old LP, a radiance through their song
like the flame of a wick slowly burning,
burning in its casing of wax.  We all felt it.
We all had wine to drink, the dregs
in our glasses covered over with a new tide
of wine from a new bottle, a taste
like the tone of a clarinet with an old reed, old
but not frayed, pliable as smoke and thick
as wax.  And then the morepork in the pine forest
sounded its two sad notes, singing
its “I-Thou” song to an absence, an absence
felt by every one of us, our futures dark
to us, so close and so alight.


© Anna Jackson





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