Silver salt stains into amber.
Virgin to the north
under the zodiac in the rose,
we have read your instructions
(yes fire, yes burn). Windows
tell stories across the walls.
Orion’s sword begins life.
Stars brew like glass, copper
to ruby, manganese to purple,
cobalt to blue. Iron makes
green, sweetness and light.
Blow, cut, slit, press,
my bone, my schist Venus.
We work under you.
Blue super giants’ elements
get heavier in the core
until they reach iron and cave in,
and so of course we fear.
We read the stain, the heavy
burn, as iris unfurling face
and bells. Let us all be full
of grace. Night falls like always
in marble cascade. The sun pushes
to morning. Then it cools.
Nocturnal mine, pillar and room,
expectant air pulls into the lung.
It is as dark there as the shaft
where we have come, violet
as under blackbird wings.
Old herbs, nectar, roots,
flesh were crushed to coal.
The lights surround like halos,
and in the faith of moss and rain,
swaddled in earth, we grind.
Threads of death wind deep
under the song of red scraps
marked with the crescent moon.
Sour, the sun is hidden, rotten
and pressed into bituminous form.
What little furniture in the room,
and only coal to eat. It dusts
the children’s hands until uncles
take them off to raise. The oldest
son we guess is dying, his lungs
with what is sung of eventide.
He returns to the rooms in his mind,
the bolts in the ceiling, a seam wide
as a man and dark with pollen and spores,
Crystal, Eureka, Ideal, Home Fire.
Angie Macri’s recent work appears in Adanna, Ecotone, and Salamander, among other journals, and is included in Best New Poets 2010. She was born and raised in southern Illinois. A recipient of an individual artist fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council, she teaches in Little Rock.