By Joseph Hesch
It always seems to start with a flash,
something soft and sudden that,
nevertheless, catches your attention
with a gentle pull at the corner of your eye.
If you’re lucky, the two of you
are drawn to one another like
shipwreck survivors on a night sea,
fearful, yet hopeful that the light each sees
can be a friend in all this lonely dark.
Once together, you’ll share each other’s
reflected light. Maybe a flame springs forth
between you as each brings heat,
as well as illumination, to the other.
If you’re not careful, you could start a fire,
which is never a bad thing if you can
keep it under control, you know,
like in a hearth instead of in a dry forest.
Such blazes take constant attention,
and without care even the most roaring
can wane, maybe damping down
into glowing embers. Some even end up
gasping to expire as shallow black ash.
Then the only light you’ll share comes not
from the welcoming flash of youthful ardor,
nor the flame or warm glow of together.
In the empty darkness of two who are none,
it’s the cold angry spark of flint on steel.
I’ve posted this poem in response to a request by poet Brian Miller at the wonderful One Stop Poetry community site. Brian and his wife are celebrating their 15th anniversary and it’s finally Spring and that’s when young (and old) men’s hearts turn to thoughts of Love. Brian asked us for a love poem or an un-love poem. I think I split the difference, with maybe (forgive me) a lesson in there, too.