On the Mornings when I Smell Fire

Author | Patricia McCrystal

crescendo of heat and fire
red heat roiling in the blood
red heat rolling through the plains
what has been building in the hearth
of the heart, unknown by the builder
the harvest is heating
rich with hot blood
boiling at the stem
surging from the earth
the pregnancy of toil unfolding
from chrysalis of sweat and smoke
Before fall sharpens
the red teeth of dawn
I am called to hold
to the light of the flame
fruits of the season’s labor-
to reveal what I have forged
from the kindling
of my bones, my pale flesh
Venus is in anticipation
biding time in the dark
Leo is ablaze
running scars across the nightskin
the fire is mine to hold
and suddenly I am afraid
Peta yuha mani win
a name given to me
four years ago, an offering
to my hearth:
"Walks with fire woman"
sometimes fire is a name
for the ways we warm others
at the eclipse of certainty
do I lay shape to inspiring pyres
one awesome exhalation over the world
before the blue choke of winter
lulls me bloodlessly to stillness-
or do I wither, a pillar of ash
with spirit to rekindle
with wisdom to offer sage
with hot breath to speak my name
with hot blood and sweat to slake
new flames, raw in the wind

About the Author | Patricia (Patty) McCrystal likes telling ghost stories almost as much as she likes hearing them. Her poems are often about fire, blood, echoes, and spirits. Patty has been published in Fellow Magazine, Gesture Literary Journal, The “A” Literary Journal, and Garden Level Literary Journal. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Colorado State University and went on to receive a Certificate in Publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. She is an avid reader of comic books and avid reciter of Emily Dickinson.