Once Fire, by Laurel Benjamin
Her skirt an abstract painting of canary
yellow, her nose separating from her face
the way tectonic plates smolder
early in a dry earthquake morning.
Singer with the jazz combo, her riotous
pheasant stance hypnotizes the room,
how Dante could have taken her as his Beatrice
if he’d written to-date. And as much as
I overhear the breeze of compliments
by way of patrons, I wonder
if my boyfriend thinks she’s too loud,
his cousin from Chicago belting it out
at this San Francisco club. I still heard
tugboats in my ears from earlier
and the foghorn late last night that entered
his parent’s basement where I stayed.
Nothing survives if it doesn’t smolder. I heard it
the way I saw colours, her voice unfurled,
bouquet theme of what was once fire.
Laurel Benjamin is a San Francisco Bay Area native, where she invented a secret language with her brother. She has work in Lily Poetry Review, Burningword, Eunoia, Glassworks, South Florida Poetry Journal, Fourth River. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and Ekphrastic Writers, she holds an MFA from Mills College. She is a reader for Common Ground Review and has featured in the Lily Poetry Review Salon.
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