Gathered, we watched flames
flickering and drawing us together.
It was hard to pull our eyes away.
Without knowing it, we formed a circle,
but many others in the outside ring
pressed us forward till we scorched our toes
and wanted to move back, but they kept pushing.
Marshmallows on a stick?
Of course. They were hungry.
Here, take it—burnt and crispy on the outside,
gooey and sweet and white and cool inside.
Then in a flash it was no longer
about confection and nourishment.
An ember leapt the circle
and caught, and hillsides, grass, and trees caught fire.
The circle opened out and came apart.
We all were running.
But where was there to run to?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 37 Number 9, on page 28
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