Richard Krawiec

#1

 

wrapped in a robe against the chill, morning birdsong

squash blossoms on a withered vine, morning birdsong

 

in a sparse yard, a baby fists grass to his mouth,

girl braids her hair with lavender, adorning birdsong

 

all night the bulb burns yellow into her damp cell

bars clank, she shuffles to breakfast mourning birdsong

 

darkening sky, the wind frenzies trees side to side

the raucous crows grow silent, a warning birdsong

 

Ah Richard, sitting alone in the bamboo grove,

Listen - the screams of burning trees, no more birdsong

 

 

#2

the white rush over rocks and moss in the river

children scream and slide down the moss in the river

 

a grieving mother kneels to strike a match to flame

the paper boat with wooden cross in the river

 

banks of goldenrod dip and bow in the soft wind

the swirling of flower buds tossed in the river

 

inside a cabin lit waxy by kerosene

a man remembers what he’s lost in the river

 

is there any way to reckon the cost, Richard,

of the ashes sliding down moss in the river?

 

 

#3

waiting all month for a fleet glimpse of fox at dusk,

one dark shadow glides the underbrush - fox at dusk

 

pearls of sweat slowly dripping down the glass of beer

at the feeder, cardinals and wrens flock at dusk

 

the boy rings the bell, slides his hand in his pocket

on the girl’s dresser, unopened ring box at dusk

 

lost and stumbling across the drought-dry river bed

last patch of green against the gray rocks at dusk

 

you didn’t think of the low creak of the porch chair,

Richard, scaring off the black fox at fiery dusk

 

#4

 

outside the porch, heaters and peepers trill the dark

a sudden winching of cicadas trill the dark

 

the woman peers at the Celtic cross in her yard,

all stone swirls and arches, love knots that thrill the dark

 

a young owl screeches, stalked by racoon or possum,

until that silence speaks of the kill in the dark

 

coffins unload from the bellies of gray transports

a balding father leans on a sill in the dark

 

smell of smoke, your dog whimpers, runs up the back stairs

moonflowers unfurl, richard, white fire to fill the dark

 

 

 

Richard Krawiec has published three books of poems, most recently Women Who Loved me Despite(Second Edition). His work appears in dozens of literary magazines, including The Ghazal Page, New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Lavure Litteraire, Dublin Review. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NC Arts Council(twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He is founder of Jacar Press, a community active press whose most recent publication is Ghazal Cosmopolitan he Culture and Craft of the Ghazal by Shadab Zeest Hashmi. For this challenge he thought a lot about the different uses and definitions of ‘fire’, from the light of a bulb glaring into a prison cell, to a ritual burning of a boat for one who has died, to the way a moonflower makes a cool ‘fire’ in the night.