The wharves fill with
A breeding ground for radiance,
The fire nesting in ships.
When the journey’s done
Flotillas of gas and color
Move across the water.
A single, conflagrant element
And the entire sea will erupt
Like an opened wrist.
The last of the botanists
Are tending the flame-tipped trees
As they burn into heaven.
They have been studying for centuries
Those abaxial gods, how their shine
Fills with human aspirations,
How the blood of mendicants
Resembles their golden sap.
They no longer question the species
Of birds muddling the silence.
Instead they take their terminal notes
And the pages diffuse with light.
In the final garden of the world
Someone has rediscovered the
Clay eluvium, the heart-shaped deposits,
In the cradle of the roots.
The Light at the End of Summer
It must be some eastern god of honey
With his yellow, cylindrical stare
Undoing the wind-frayed leaves.
There are tempests in that gold,
Torrents larger than a lion’s head
Bursting like enjambment,
Like wild artillery
Over the creased water,
The somnambulant green.
In one hand he holds
The combustible amber,
In the other, a darkened hive.
During the terminal days of august
His fire-riddled body steps out
From the crucible of trees.
Wet stones that blacken
Like the night blackens
Over a town in Northern Maine.
And nothing in the stream
But this covenant of mirrors
Conspiring to give back to us
The dark sky, with its vibrant puncture
Wounds, its little peepholes of ice.
Were it not for those winter stones
Would the man whose neck is bowed
By his own confusion ever look
Through the tracery of branches
And see the source of such strange radiance?
Would he ever be lifted out of himself
Like a migratory ghost
From its salt-cages?
The parasols are rising up
From the concomitant bridge of memory.
They are as bright as someone’s
Last breath in a northern country,
Their soul filling with snow
As the calcified light drips over.
Beneath the bridge the river
Of forgetfulness is as wide
As someone’s coming of age.
Innocence lost down in the
Milk-white water, and all
The animals of youth with their harnessed fires
Swimming to shore. The world
Is a black point at the end of geography.
We think we know it but all
Our plots lead nowhere.
Like someone’s startling sense of strangeness
The first time they hear mushrooms breathe
In a forest near their home
The world opens it bright palm
Our amnesia is alternately a hazing over
And our bodies making room
For a vaster recollection.
Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven Circle Press (www.sevencirclepress.com). His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron Review, El Portal, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, VAYAVYA, Gingerbread House, Gravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com.