It sometimes holds drops on its forehead,
on the straight passes of its arms. This is when
you should flex a few stray branches. See which
ones are worthy to be tucked in. Dig deep
in your pockets and kneel to the ground. This is how
I’ve seen men do it. Some keep tinder in a small
metal box, already warmed from pressing into their skin.
Others keep it in their fingers, in the bowls of their palms,
the small folds of their lips. It, always warm to the touch,
makes the next part easy. Use your hands to feed the flame,
to warm the spots that need It and the ones that don’t.
Cup your hands around it and breathe deeply.
And if it asks you to keep going, listen.
~ Julie Ramon
Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.
Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.