Close Cover Before Striking
by Karen Lee Lewis


It was not a trivial pursuit.
The burners on my stove wouldn’t light.
Turning the knobs brought only the slow rush
of odor, not the ardor of flame.

I reached for a match box,
shaking it, to wake the inert
lip-stick dipped, rough hewn tinder.
Next the easy glide of interior, revealing
the sparkling garnet and glue. The grit
waiting to be cut, one against the other.

I admit a rare pleasure at the weight
of certain friction, the anticipation of ignition,
the pulling scratch-snap, the blue-orange dress,
the smothering blow, the intoxicating smolder,
the brief sulfurous dream.

I am this match of love and light.
Venus before sunrise. Philo and lumen.
A Philuminist—collector of loco-foco—
self-lighting bearer of phosphorous muse.

Like mates that eat from the same table
of incandescent elements this burning Lucifer
is a sacred marriage of heaven and earth.

I’m in no hurry to fix the stove.
I rather prefer this fertile need
to create a cosmos of light
with the strength of my hand.







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