My great American novel in a brown pea shell, Illus. Jay Musler

I prayed that the friction of spinning wheels
would suffice to ignite the inferno—
prayed until bike tires turned to radials
skidding disharmony to radio
rock ‘n’ roll—until parked, cliff-edged, the squeals

of mutual private boiling wet windows—
saw spark touch gas. The world began—at last—
to burn. Vesuvius blew. Phoenix rose.
Summer chased off spring into fragrant grass
and wove garlands from immortal impulse—

so soon cries of fruition—came so fast—
a tiny apple, an ember burning
to emerge, new fuel grown from the ashes—
searing to flourish, flush with the yearning…
Now she dances and pops while my fire slows.

Shared concentration of heat returning,
this sustaining smolder of my learning.

Jay Musler is well known as a glass artist,
so it is particularly thrilling to me that he has

contributed an illustration for the book.


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