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The Hands That Create by Andie Crawford

Ars Poetica

by Bella Zaccaro

"But it is an echo, waiting for me / to connect its formless gray / into the true image I saw."

By the time I awaken from the stupor

of lightning-strike, burning-fire inspiration,

scrambling for a pen and page,

the vision has already scattered

and I am left grasping

at embers and sparks.

Still hot, they burn in tiny spots

against my fingers and my palms,

and I press them flat against paper

to watch them carve a smokey shape.

But it is an echo, waiting for me

to connect its formless gray

into the true image I saw.

I make a wish for the glow and

flawless feathers of the phoenix's

fiery return. I make a wish for anything

to burn as brightly as my dream.

Shape it

as I please or as I should,

marked with patterned lowering of keys.

It remains as curling wisps, either lost

or extinguished, hissing for a quiet death.

I step back and smell its sting, how it clings

to the atmosphere and page,

and test if letting cool air seep

into its flickering form

might solve its stubbornness.

Time alone does nothing

but age it.

The drive to invoke my waking dream

smolders in still-living cinders, reaches

out from the smokescreen

and pulls me back with its last warmth

I long to bridge mind and reality.

Look at the divination

on the page and see

not something unfinished,

or else nothing at all

but what it could be, if

cut into pieces and burned again,

until pencilmark words curl

up into black;

until charred and softened

to soil, to grow again.

With ink-dipped knife I cut

each word into its own,

see the ideas flitting within

paper-pulp, change and reshape

the expanse of before;

and I raise manmade lighter to

the page. The paper does not burn easy

against its meek flame mimic of

better circumstances.

Sparks fall tentative, sickly,

hesitant in their blinking birth and

faint from the moment they are lit.

But in the dark they light the word

in tiny whispers of space around them,

dancing beyond lines on the page.

In the dark it is all you can see.

Precise, I pierce their descent

and flatten them into words,

patterns of inkblot and ash

layering one over the last.

Only as letters burn into themselves,

reincarnated into black-blazed paper,

does the fire against my palms

look like a faint vestige

of the vision that first struck me down.


About the Writer...

Bella Zaccaro is a senior creative writer at Douglas Anderson. She enjoys developing fantasy and sci-fi concepts, and focuses on metaphor-based storytelling in her works as a way of discussing complex themes or experiences.

About the Artist...

Andie Crawford is a Senior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. She specializes in drawing and painting.

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