/ Poetry

How to stoke a flame

Like a draft, His chilling hands slink in through the cracks of our coils,
and husks us away. No coincidence it is called a wake, for it is only then,
when we feel the shuddering cold so near our thin necks, that we rouse from our
complacency to swallow just how much we want to need this warmth.

Want to.

For all our methods of insulating ourselves, He finds a way in;
inexorable as sunrise, so sunset cools the earth again.

There are many that would bundle up and hide, as if to fight,
if just to slow the end known to be right before them.
So sad are we frozen, found huddled and hidden.

But there is one who sloughs those cumbersome bundles,
ventures unladen in a righteous jubilee of his own birth,
who cries in joy as he realizes that only
in embracing the cold is he liberated from it,
and runs so far into the dark we cannot see.

We, crowded around embers of varying degrees of "done,"
know dully how his journey ends
—the same as our own will one sunset—
yet we cannot help but think
that it may perhaps be colder a life,
but equally cold is the end,
and for all his clammy skin his soul burnt hot,
hot as a roaring flame,
and as His cold draws nearer, and His claws grip tighter
his soul only burns brighter

while ours turn slowly solid around steadily dying fire.

Nick Giampietro

Nick Giampietro

Nick graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Japanese Literature and a minor in English, and works as a Software Engineer in Portland. He lives with his wife and dog-of-a-cat.

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