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Poem: A Candle for Karma 

I do all the things one does
when backed into the corner
of change or die.

Some of us
make fires,
make a mess,
make word and image
to make it through
the narrow gate,
squeaking mouse-like,
past the last teensy sliver of wiggle room.

I pray for the karma
between you and I
to be burnt up,
transmuted into kitten fur ash,
floating motes to the stars.

I see a zipper unzipping,
time to take off the coat,
familiar with the stains of every battle,
pocked with tear marks.

As simply as taking off a coat;
it is.
The teeth separating with grace,
their function now complete.

I hand you the coat.

You take it, for once
just holding it.
but you take it,
thank god.

I say thank you for letting me wear it,
I don’t need it any longer.
I say I have to go now
and turn on my way.

This time I don’t look back to see
the storm starting in your face.
I know the sound of thunder in your throat.
And lightening quick
with a crack and a boom and a bang,
I could become salt

It’s getting late.
Without a coat,
I step lively along
inhaling the fresh moment.

Speaking of...

  • Poetry is edited by Philip Levine.


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