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.