Poetry and Poetics
LENS OF FIRE
Of course the lens was round,
bound in a silver rim, round as the sun
it focused on the dead oak leaf
I cupped in my small hand.
I squatted on my heels to get closer
to the growing heat. A wisp of smoke
began to rise from a black-edged hole
in the valley of the leaf.
As my flesh felt that heat,
I dropped the leaf, though still I focused
on the flame that rippled out from center
to take the veins, the brown edges.
It was easy, then, to reach again for fire,
to crave the joys of attention and destruction.
I wanted to show everyone this child
of the sun that I had helped to birth.
But years ago I did not understand
that leaf would never leave my hand,
is living even now, its dark veins
the valleys of my palm.
© by Penny Harter
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