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Hartford Circus Fire (Post-Elegy for Light)

by Caroline Chavatel

Among them: two compacts, a tube of gloss
the shade of sand, the body. How fire
insists on showing its own destruction,
male in its intention. Show me the wreck,
the body. Among them: three purses full
of photographs, a wrinkled glove, a charred
mother, child. How fire keeps eating its
own tail. Show me the wreck, your film.
Among them: a trapeze rope burnt into two. Not a rope.
Two halves of a rope. Knot the rope. Dear fire
of the ring—Show me how you break her
like communion. Among them: a crucifix,
a rabbit’s foot, a comb untouched by flame. Take your pick.
Take. Show me your taking. Take.
The body. Show me.


Caroline Chavatel’s poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Nimrod, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University, where she is assistant poetry editor of Puerto del Sol. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is co-founder of Madhouse Press. (12/2017)

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