If a boy’s palm curls to cup the whisper
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiof flame, if he stands passing a butane lighter
iiiiiiiiiiiback and forth with his friend,
it is to learn how beauty burns the fingers,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihow the forbidden holds inside of it the holy—
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithe lighter’s hiss and click a spell, an incantation
iiiamong young pines where Whatcom Creek runs
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibelow the hush of wind in cedars.
His friend, who has carried in secret
iiiiiiiiiiiia tattered sack from the Lummi Reservation,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinow lifts a fountain firework, lights it
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiand summons a shower of sparks
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinto the dry, white heat of June.
How could they know, standing just feet from the creek’s edge,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithat the water itself would burn—
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisparks blossom on the swirling current into a crest of flame,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiia rill of widening fire,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiia second creek skating on top of the first,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiradiant, ravenous, impossible, flowing upstream—
iiiiiiiiiiiwhile not far from the office of the company
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiwhose pipeline had leaked,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiI look up from my homework,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithe windows of my grandmother’s trailer shuddering
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin their crooked sills.
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiTwo boys, whose initials notched two desks at school,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihad discovered the secret leaking toward town—
iiiiiiboys my own age, whose names stand on plaques in Whatcom Park,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiwhose stories parents whisper like a warning:
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiBrian Tsirovas, Wade King,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithey who called a secret forth into flame,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiwho found a burning world inside our water.