160: Courtyard Fire

160: Courtyard Fire

Courtyard Fire
by Arthur Sze

At autumn equinox,
          we make a fire
                     in the courtyard: sparks

gust into the black air,
          and all seasons are enfolded
                     in these flames:

snow gathers and tips the lilac twigs;
          a stinkhorn rises
                     out of the dirt below a waterspout;

ants climb the peony stalks;
          and, gazing into coals,
                     I skydive and pass through

stages of youth: at first,
          I climb a tower and,
                     looking out, find the world tipped;

then I dash through halls:
          if ripening is all,
                     what can the dead teach us?

We who must rage and lust,
          hurtle zigzagging between cars
                     in traffic, affirm

the call to abandon illusions
          is a call to abandon
                     a condition that requires illusions; 

and, as I pull the cord,
          spring rips and blooms;
                     on landing, I sway on earth.

"Courtyard Fire" by Arthur Sze, from SIGHT LINES by Arthur Sze. Copyright © 2019 by Arthur Sze. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.