Spinning Fire

“Spinning Fire”


When we are spinning fire,

your body is awash in moving brushstrokes

and your dance is a sun on water that never tires,

sparkling with heat and flowing with current spokes.


Although you’re barely moving,

every muscle knows its path—

every flicker of a hip grooving

gently in place like a storm’s studied wrath.


And I think you must be in place, too.

Your body sings a song of home and belonging.

Is my quietness some clue?

I worry the rosary beads of my heart with some longing.


The reason I drop the hoop, the little girl who looks

just like you says, is because I try.

Hold still and let it whirl! She laughs. The nooks

and rings of my planetary body whirl and wobble by.


Kick wheels are easier than this to spin.

Aggression carries a currency with mud and blame

it lacks with fire and air. You can’t win

when you’re playing the wrong game.


Spinning yarn from tangles takes smaller motions, too,

than the planets and my hands can give.

I want to learn that gentleness, to renew

what’s tattered and harsh, weave a life I can live.


I went back to school to see if I could learn

more about spinning fire and yarn, and earn

the right to move so freely and tell a story so true

that it would singe off the quiet between my heart and you.


The professor stood at the board and smiled at the class,

noticed we were falling asleep after an hour and a half.

He said: “We can’t comprehend things that are too large or too small.

It’s only through symbols that we get a grip at all.”


And he swirled his coffee gently like a firey hoop.

“George Washington’s in my mug, in a molecule group

of six million bits of water and carbon, and each of us, too—

even as we live and breathe, we fly apart and I drink in each of you.”

Spinning fire doesn’t know what it’s about,

although flames always rise up and out.

The dance comes from hungering for the oxygen all around,

despite gravity drawing hoop and hips down.