To A Dark Moses –

To A Dark Moses –

by Lucille Clifton

you are the one
i am lit for.
Come with your rod
that twists
and is a serpent.
i am the bush.
i am burning
i am not consumed.



Torch Song

Torch Song

Anoint your dead
Put them in a little boat called
She Who Must Be Obeyed —
our little joke.
Invite the Molotovs for cocktails on deck.
Tell them to wear all their gold.

too full of dark vapors to ascend to the skies

too full of dark vapors to ascend to the skies

by Henna Ink

there’s something serious

about raping a willow tree—

stripping a wood elemental

of its innocence

and vaporizing the luster in its pale green eyes

between the lying blades of ascension’s scissors,

she must have cut herself

a dual nature—

it wasn’t a matter

of vanity,

or even for the revenge

of her airy body

and peevish spirit;

she was the daughter

of the River


but he failed

to foster and guard her artistic bark

and emerald hair;

with alchemy’s life force, he

reclaimed desire—

inside an unlocked dressing


her skin began

a tense

and distant relationship

with a permanent reminder

of giant clouds

Burning in the Rain

Burning in the Rain

Someday compassion would demand
I set myself free of my desire to recreate
my father, indulge in my mother’s losses,
strangle lovers with words, forcing them
to confess for me and take the blame.
Today was that day: I tossed them, sheet
by sheet on the patio and gathered them
into a pyre. I wanted to let them go
in a blaze, tiny white dwarfs imploding
beside the azaleas and ficus bushes,
let them crackle, burst like winged seeds,
let them smolder into gossamer embers—
a thousand gray butterflies in the wind.
Today was that day, but it rained, kept
raining. Instead of fire, water—drops
knocking on doors, wetting windows
into mirrors reflecting me in the oaks.
The garden walls and stones swelling
into ghostlier shades of themselves,
the wind chimes giggling in the storm,
a coffee cup left overflowing with rain.
Instead of burning, my pages turned
into water lilies floating over puddles,
then tiny white cliffs as the sun set,
finally drying all night under the moon
into papier-mâché souvenirs. Today
the rain would not let their lives burn.