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Inside the Fire

by Chard deNiord

You see that everyone is famous.
You hardly know what to say.
"It is a great honor to meet you."
"I am fortunate indeed to make your acquaintance."
But who wouldn't think you were being facetious?
You see with the sight of burning eyes.
The faces inside the faces.
They are the children of fire with classic features,
no matter who they are, no matter how deformed.
They are the stars in the only theater,
each brilliant actor in the role of her life.
Each face burns with a different light.
Blow on the soul.
See the face.
Blow on the soul.
See the face.
Look away.


Chard deNiord is the author of three books of poetry, Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Night Mowing, forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2005. His poems and essays have appeared recently in The American Scholar, The New England Review, Gettysburg Review, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry, The Iowa Review, Poetry East, AGNI, Green Mountains Review, The Harvard Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review. He is associate professor of English at Providence College and directs the low-residency MFA program in poetry at New England College.

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