Web Site Builder

Two Contemporary Poets

Spring, 2004

Ioanna Warwick


I felt indecent, coming to you
with so many scars

the permanent necklace
around my throat;
the scar at my lip,
that kiss gone wrong;
burn shadows on my back,
and the secret hidden slash -

and the worst, invisible,
starting where memory starts.

Then we saw the giant sequoias
carrying their two thousand years,
every one scarred by fire:
centuries of charred flesh.
Fallen logs spelled
the storm of roots
that holds these trees in the earth.

In the morning I found you
hugging a sequoia,
tendrils of your hair
sunlit against the reddish bark.
On the tree's other side,
a burn like a salute,
hollowed and black -
and yet the crown
rising into green.

We walked among the sequoias,
one after another
split to the root by lightning -
each scar was an entrance,
each said in black silence

passion is not fire,
but surviving fire