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I do not finger my losses
Abacus-like but I cherish
Each bead of my anguish.
The universe tosses us
With relish toward Chaos,
Paleolithic fire
To black ice. And beyond.

I have known you twice.

My lilies deadheaded
In this heat first met
And wedded dread frost
In your eyes. But fire
Formed its first still pool.
We bloom silent after ice.
Fire has known you twice.

Twice, this fire. Twice.

There are things the winter takes.
There are songs its winds devour.
There are hours turned sour
By the gardener’s rakes,
Ruins made by plucking.
Too much tending rapes.

Could we now over-weather
Weather-over, whether-over
This? Eyes blooming ice—

Still must see, burn twice.

This fire—still—burns twice.


Pamela L. Sumners is a constitutional and civil rights attorney. A native Alabamian, she now lives in St. Louis with her family, which includes three rescue dogs. Her work has been published or recognized by over 25 journals or publishers in 2018. She was selected for inclusion in Halcyone/Black Mountain Press’ Best Poets of 2018, and she also was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

© 2019, Pamela L. Sumners

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