At the sacred fire on the riverbank by Krista Canterbury Adams

At the sacred fire on the riverbank
Krista Canterbury Adams

Under flame-faced Lyra,
in celestial sanctuary
we tend in pairs,
burnt eyed. We study
the vast ecliptic like a holy writ
held alight in the sky,

we keep the flame from sputtering out.
But you are old,
cold with the rush of the river,
fingers of crooked bones,
unsure of flame or match.

Above the aspen trees
the Fire Moon wanes
shadowy and deep.
Like glittering snakes
the stars burn
in their vast constellations.
Old One,

pick up the white blossoms
fallen from the staff,
sing to me—all your hunched knowledge
bends you down. You are cloaked
in the snare
of judgment. For all your loss
you cry—a goddess of ashes.


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