Archive for March 29th, 2021

Monday, 29 March 2021

Original Fire by Karen Louise Erdrich

for Aza

I watch my daughter build a fire
not from a match or cigarette lighter
but from the original elements,
two sticks, a length of sinew, friction.
She has formed a cup of juniper shreds,
and when she spins out a black ember
and breathes it to life
she transfers the radiant pebble
into the nest and breathes again.
Sparks fly from her lips.
A dove of flame bursts from between her hands.
She speaks to the spark
until the words catch and burn
and I think, here is my daughter
who is innocent of all things
yet from whose lips
the terrible and merciful
flame flies out, the truth, the fire.


Date: 2019

By: Karen Louise Erdrich (1954- )