The Fire Starter

by David Sloan

          “Scatter as from an unextinguish’d hearth
          Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind.”
                                                — Percy Bysshe Shelley

I relish tossing
the live match
into raspy roadside grass

or starting small
with the tiniest
steeple of twigs
bird’s leg-thin

just enough tinder
to nurse a fragile flame
laying on larger brush
gingerly    as if springing
the trigger of a trap

sticks a finger’s width
then a wrist’s   until it catches
a low guttering that grows
like a great flurry of feathers rising
in the echoing calm after a gun shot

then the elation of the uncontainable
the wild leaping flames
the sheer scale of destruction    I too yearn to see
my work spread far beyond my material reach

the jackrabbit fireballs
flushed into the open   zigzagging crazily   desperate
to put themselves out   but only igniting
more brush    until the whole dazzling scene
crackles with brimstone       and burning bushes