[there is a certain way…]

there is a certain way to do this: the careful
arrangement of sticks and the circle of stones
worn smooth from water. you steeple the twigs
to form a teepee like the kind you drew when
you were a child, around the time when the wind
stole the last leaves from the trees and every-
one kept asking why you were drawing chalk
outlines of yourself in the street in front of
your house. you were ten and a half years old
and nobody understood that you were already
dead. that skipping stones and making wishes
didn’t work. you place one more stone and it
makes the circle complete. there is safety
within circles, it keeps things out. you drew
a chalk circle around your bed and around your
own neck. you step back, strike the match,
arc of flame that catches to tinder. the fire is lit.
there is safety within circles. it keeps things in, too.



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