- · vol. 13 · no. 1 · October 2012

Poetic Research Department

Statement of Poetic Research

Frances Richard
Outlet Fire

"A garden of medicinal flowers…"


Such answers help

insofar as how many days

were you a child? Or can you fix it

with your mind, since it did not happen

in your mind? "Time crashes

into words so often."

An experienced fire scholar

observes we hold a species monopoly

over fire, fire

is a profoundly interactive technology, yet people

rarely burn as nature burns.

And out of the wilderburbs

we reinstated fire to remedy a longtime

fire famine. An expected major wind event

took place. Light 'em or fight 'em

and shoving biomass around, hazards

of reintroduction of the lost species of

fire resulted quickly

in a 14,000-acre black-and-silverscape

to anneal our eyes. The flicker

folding denuded understory, traversing undone

growth in its slight rise and curve whose carbon plateau

resists, the way we scanned our bodies to fix

I and got a Pleistocene, some shiny

seeps, "a tickle

at the back of the throat"

A come-home urge, a short-term

wedding ring or nerve tonic

of conversation in the car

Not unintimate

but a claw into the sector

In this area where quelling

worked or gracious

tissue has not surged back. To anneal

is to harden, and I was told

so many times to love the killed place

charred, the charnel

and charmed skeleton-of-ghosts place. Appeared moonlit

in daylight and its narrative

was goblin, homeless

burrow, carburetor. Intelligence instigated this

big elegy


with its retardant like let's live together. But cut by river, worn

by air, détourned by wind like I won't disappear

if the line of wavy green in the non-shatter glass

maintains its vein

in tangibility. If adrenalin splits

chemicals with this sector. Immolated-to-the-

drop-off place that shimmeringly


Snags, slash, deadfall, flesh of

charcoal flower burns its

urging off the tongue. Leaves a

husk-shape perfect, subject

to astonishing dispersal. So carve a channel

in your voice, go coursing


along the burned-up hologram of I

make a plan

The question had been as usual what is

ultimate? Cake of

burning shimmer in the

woods, your

question had been too much

of the wrong kind of fire and not enough of the right

kind. Apocalypse dryads

without new weeds or saplings to befriend, emollient

tar and failure

medicine. We come through

you, null

quadrant, in our vehicle. And fumes of wanting

to be otherwise escaped

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