Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Affair of the Fire Eaters - Nancy Kuhl

So much better the brittle ash,

better than tearing. So much

seashell gone silent, spiral, translucent

white burn.The chemical smell of it.

A struck match to a photograph —

bubbles, blackens. Run the film

backwards: the fire goes out

when he holds the match to the baton.

What we do we do with the body.

Home movies emptied on to a sheet

hung in the basement. Wife of soot, wife

of burnt hair and the man gone electric.

Everything is soaked in the slippery

smell of gasoline. The woman he loves

holds a drink like you’d hold a pistol.

A joke’s a joke so tell it.

The fire eater is reckless, head back

eyes wide open, wide open spilling

red reflection. They can’t help but

think of his salt cooled mouth.

If it’s a sideshow bring them all.

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