When I Am Fire ~ John Whalen


After Joan Sauro


When I am fire, I cannot easily go home

to take the chicken from the freezer

and open a can of olives.


When I am fire, the other cars slow down

and point at the flames pushing out my windows.

She’s divorced they say.


And you? When you are fire,

where is the dark but inside you somewhere

afraid of loneliness?


When you are fire, you are beautiful.

As much because I like you

as because of the fine blaze of your lips.


When I am fire, it isn’t easy to separate

the heat from the inquiring air.

Distance flares up all along the Spokane River.