A candle reaches back
to the beginning of time,
though the flame flickers at
breakfast in the slightest
shift of air. Reminded of
death, I feel fire inside,
enough to push against the dark.

Near the front porch, rain
falls on the schoolchildren.
It falls on their heads,
their books, their jackets,
their legs bare below the knees,
their shoes, their faces,
and small hands and eyes.
A few walk with bowed heads,
others talk together,
enjoying the flickering
in the rainy weather.

Unknowing courage inspires
us to leave the cave to join
lights with others, build fires
at entrances to ward off
danger and illuminate
the shadows within, enabling
us to know the beast, when
it appears near the light,
one hundred miles from
Bethlehem and Mecca
and Harney Peak, and in our
mother's and father's eyes.

Sylvan Moe