Everything you don’t know about fire by Andrew Kuhn

is most of it. That’s fine.
You’re too tired for learning right now.

The fire moves frantically behind the isinglass, going nowhere,
ignorantly oxidizing with no apparent intent
despite seeming at times

to dance, to rage,
to intentionally bestow
light and warmth.

The big difference of course between fire and you is that
your whys and wherefores are ever so consequential

whereas the fire is merely a reaction,
a dumb conversion of stuff into less stuff . . .

Or is it not actually less stuff? Seem to remember
a confusing law about that.

Let’s say, stuff that is more dispersed, maybe—
plus energy, in the form of heat!
Pretty sure about that, at least.

For which at any rate tonight you can be grateful,
that the elements have arranged themselves
or been arranged by whoever knows how

in such a manner that you may drowse
half aware of your body,
for once used hard and well,

and of the sparks
that chase each other
over pulsing coals

 

 

In the course of becoming a poet and psychologist, Andrew Kuhn has sold firewood, survived a brief stint in demolition, written for newspapers, and messed about in boats. His poems have appeared in Able Muse Review, Chimaera, The Mailer Review, Vending Machine Press, The Satirist, The Heron’s Nest, The Ghazal Page and other venues; work is scheduled for publication in Common Ground Review. How a Poem Can Happen–a collection of Kuhn’s interviews with 21 distinguished poets including Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Robert Pinsky and Kay Ryan–will be published in May by Red Spruce Press.