Night Fire


I struck the match. My child watched dead leaves burn
and catch the crib of twigs, and watched me turn
the callow cinders with an alder stick
until, in time, bright specks whirled in the thick
overhead branches so you couldn’t tell
which were the sparks and which the stars, and all
around us shadows intricately wrought
swayed fiercely against the absolute of night.

What’s left this morning? Ashes and a round
of stones, two unsplit oak logs on the ground,
a child asleep, and all the mind remembers.

Yet there it is: her face in a daze of embers,
that weave of limbs against a farther sky,
the fire of language I still see them by.

Mori Creech lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he works and teaches. His work has appeared in Yale Review, Southwest Review, The New Criterion, First Things, and elsewhere. His third book, The Sleep of Reason, will be published by Waywiser Press in 2013.

First published in Measure, Volume 7, Issue 1 (2012)