Elemental – Alan Girling

As a non-smoker, I’ve burned
so little in my life, fire the thing
I step out of, or into. Whereas water,
air, earth—these are my true elementals.
The glow in the dark of a cigarette tip
is pure fireworks to the introvert.

Ah then, to live the humid
life along the salmon-full river,
beaver comfortable in his lodge,
known but rarely seen, private
figure who builds,
who is keystone!
And Keats, be there,
teach me how to be
capable of disappearing—
receding—into presence;
to where the sight of a bird
in mid soar, swoop, or
another airborne shaping, lifts,
and the call of the nightingale
slays the poem; to where
the maple catches, breaks
rain’s fall, and each drop
rolls to the edge of its
leaf, drops gently, seeps
into soil, or hangs
quivering until it pops,
rising as ether.

The idea of purity may be
problematic, but purity
has yet to affect me much.
So do, do light me up.
Try. Something inside
wants a torch, something
moist, rooted, something
                    salamandrine.

Alan GirlingAlan Girling lives in Richmond, British Columbia. He writes poetry mainly, sometimes fiction. His work has appeared in such venues as FreeFall, Hobart, SmokeLong Quarterly, The MacGuffin, in various online journals, at live readings, even in shop windows. He has won two poetry prizes and has had a short play produced.