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Sapphire Alone (poem)

Sapphire Alone

still knows fire. It's the stilling flame,

the burning touch, of ice. Inside her eye, events are justified and debated

as in a great and rowdy parliament, full of red-faced men, bitterly opposed,

advances met with counteradvances, so each thought is pushed back and forth forever.

Resonant, like a guitar string, all forward progress trapped in vibration.

In the hall of her mind, their voices rise, day and dusk, in fear.

Fear is inspired by every action. Even inaction.

"Ruin, ruin! A slippery slope!" they shout.

"Thoughtless! Callous! What my opponent has failed to consider..."

On a good day, the parliamentarians can compromise on

not direct movement, but something sort of sideways,

poised and perfect, demurely beautiful, words

sagely to the tenth decimal place. Revealing only

the future that is near. To venture farther is fiercely debated,

both too hot and too cold, uncertain, without direction.

So she pretends not to know, and curls her hands: "My Diamond."

On a bad day, she winces staring at the motel ceiling,

watching with dull fear the arc of every line that leads forward from her mind,

and her bed turns to ice, and the carpet turns to ice

and ice stills the tongue of the fountain, trapping its water molecules

to shiver in vibration, just as Sapphire shivers in cogitation,

wrapped in her uninsulating blanket.

For a time, Sapphire longed for the others' minds:

a warm conviction to rally the parliament, or perhaps, she thought later, just a drive

other than the drive to be correct.

But, she saw even later, after she was bathed in love:

the others did not agree, suffered and argued

about what to do. This was also a parliament.

Enacted in slow motion, and where mistakes counted.

Sapphire, let your fire burn

blue for us, as bright as you are able, tracing a line far into uncertainty.

We will contend with you in your mind. We will add our voices to the blaze.

Perhaps that will help. When you are tired of debating yourself,

and the ocean freezes beneath you,

sleep on its surface, and we will carry on above.

We believe there is a trend to the argument, like the gentle curve of the horizon,

though Sapphire alone has swum out far enough to see it.