"St. John’s Fire" by T.M. Göttl

poem by T.M. Göttl

St. John’s Fire

Next time you stand at the foot of a spiral stair,
look straight up,
into the dome, owned by
the gold and green brothers, Polaris and Sirius.
And there, you’ll see
the dove and the raven,
the flood birds, entwined,
in the pupil of a god’s eye, and the
god’s double tongues—one of leather, one of steel—
carving silver peacocks
into the backs of liars and other faithless.
They fill the streets
with their gunpowder cries, but
intrepid, you kick past their glittering,
bottled hollers, approaching
the mossy queen with
tiny lions climbing
from her open collar.
Your fresh supplications, awkward and
skinless, hover near the queen’s feet,
until the twin cubs devour them
and run. You must chase them,
without wheels or engines or bullets this time;
only your untried calves and thighs and lungs, only
your untested heart.
And you chase them, every midnight and midmorning,
past the tribes of the hopeful
tending St. John’s fires,
and camping at the ocean’s fingertips.


T.M. Göttl, a member of the Buffalo ZEF Creative Arts Community, has won a Wayne College Regional Writing Award and a Franklin-Christoph Poetry Prize. She won first place on the first time she ever competed in a poetry performance competition. She travels throughout the state of Ohio, writing and performing her poetry, and her work has appeared online and in print, in places such as Deep Cleveland, The Poet’s Haven, The Mill, The Hessler Street Fair Anthology, and a bilingual poetry collection to benefit victims of the Sichuan Earthquake in China in 2008. Her first collection, Stretching the Window, was published in February 2008.

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