Duplex Beginning with a Line by Edward Hirsch

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At midnight the soul dreams of a small fire,
night balmy but body shivering

in the quivering atmosphere, heat and chill.
A keenness the soul perceives as black ice

sticks and burns in dry ice’s cold clarity,
a lone lucidity—a conflagration

whose biting flare cuts through the fog it creates
in deceptive, devouring radiance.

The soul circles, perceives this fire’s bitter want,
knowing the lie but fluttering, pale winged,

on pain of immolation, knows the lie
but senses an echo of its own hunger,

a mixed resonance of fullness and bareness
which cracks at midnight in sparks from a small fire.

Line 1 taken from “Poor Angels,” in the collection For the Sleepwalkers.

Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer whose work has appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, Synkroniciti and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and was published by Tebor Bach in 2021.

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