A Torch

A Torch


juts out over the Java sea, right

next door to us. It’s raised on steel

girders rising in triangular precision

from the power plant. Perpetual, fed


by natural gas bleeding out the electric’s

supply, it burns its light through day’s

hours, flame enfeebled by the blazing

sun, and nights its orange glows beckon


and reflect off the oily tide. No

Olympics are scheduled here, no

notice is posted to explain its existence.

Nothing other that the blazing torch


I witness each morning as sunrises blast

through clouds and soak entire skies

in sultry glow. The torch beats on below.

Unexplained, unaccounted, unfailing.


I point this out to my wife, and she nods,

understanding, but maybe not quite. You

see, I was a soldier once, and spent nervous

days in Kuwait waiting to roll into Baghdad

and combat.  There the forest of rigs and wells

ringed me round in omens and flames burning off


excess from ceaseless pumps. Unofficious,

unceremonial, pragmatic flames to rid

the waste—the cryptic glows staggered

night visions. How strange that now


these torches revisit me now


so many years later, so many days changed,

so much of life altered from the laughing,

headstrong youth those days knew. But the

torch returns to me now. It returns, and I


suspect it’s symbolic of something.

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