The heart’s torch
could kindle a thicket,
cruising the ridge line
after midnight, like a car
with a broken headlight.
I watch it seething
beside a dark pond
where a woman swims laps
and emerges, picking up
her beach towel
and wrapping it tightly
around her torso. It’s not
eternal, but its oils
burn so slowly
and its rags are packed
so thickly around its tip
the flame can’t help
gulping cool air.
It wriggles and soars,
a story below
a set of drawn blinds.
The neighbor who can’t sleep
wonders if it’s meant
for her. She sits
at her window, sips tea,
and watches until the torch
slips away down the alley
beyond shut garages,
sputtering under the tinder
of dangling branches.