The Common Good
July-August 1998

Signal Fire

by David Sparenberg | July-August 1998

Signal Fire

I have come forth
to set my heart
on the ground

and to make a small
signal fire,
mixing smoke
with dust and clouds.

The blue-white
flame, with the orange
aura, bright
as the blood oranges
of the south,

this
will be the burning
of my soul.
How long
does a soul endure
in a changing place?

Pilgrim
drop some alms
of your holy journey
into this bowl
of wavering embers.

Behold,
the frailty
of the human body!

the sun-
drenched silhouette,
perfumed
by the summer earth.

DAVID SPARENBERG lives in Seattle. He dedicates this poem to his "beautiful and beloved wife, Joan," who passed away in August 1997.

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