I could no more know
myself than this flame
seated in the air
one quarter of an inch
above its burnt root
– so self –contained a form
you’d think it held in ice –

no more know that flame
than one drop of rain
or a single leaf
let alone this draught
slicing across the sill
nudging the little
corpse-boat of a fly;

no more know you, fly
than this cat – the cat
perhaps but what about
the way it holds us
in a gaze so void
of an idea of self
our own can only fail.

Were we to return
that look we might learn
to take something from
nothing, might begin
to steady and see,
figure who we are
in that slit black flame.

Greta Stoddart


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