Side Arrangements

Jed Myers

Carbon, what’s left after water
vapor’s risen along with smoke,
the fire’s remainder a blackness

of orphaned atoms. Carbon, chains
wound up inside us, thirsts and murders
its side arrangements, braided fuse

igniting the present’s spark-light
in the black of was and will be. Carbon,
footprint of our fumbling, our cutting

down our origin’s columns
to stoke a stone hearth. And a diamond—
hard dry tear of still here,

a long-ago life pressed pure
in the dark under a forest, pick-axed
by a hard-worked dark-skinned miner—

you’ll wear it, held by a few silver
prongs to a silver wire to ring
your thin slow-burning finger.

Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), the chapbook The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and the limited-edition handmade chapbook Between Dream and Flesh (Egress Studio Press). Recent awards include the McLellan Poetry Prize (UK) and New Southerner’s James Baker Hall Memorial Prize. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Crab Creek Review, The Greensboro Review and elsewhere.


  1. Helen Montague Foster says

    A powerful poem. Thank you.

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