This past spring we celebrated the lengthening days with two poems by Christine Gelineau.  We described her as “poet, teacher, mentor and horsewoman” and even then only scratched the surface of her work ethic and her accomplishments.  Now as the days contract and the warmth must be of our own making, we once again welcome Christine with gratitude for how she decodes our seasons for us and with the deepest admiration for her gifts.  This poem comes from her book-length sequence “Appetite for the Divine,” published this year after garnering the Ashland Press Editor’s Choice Award. Embedded in her book cover praise for “Appetite for the Divine”  is Molly Peacock’s stunning observation that Christine moves “toward an idea of holiness in our 21st-century existence.”  Imagine that capacity for holding truth and finding grace and enjoy the work of a poet who brings it to the page.

A wood stove reminds you
what it is you have
brought into the home
each time you unlatch
the door and thrust the dead
weight bundle of a log
into the roil
of that indifferent heart.

Backing out of the drive
on some errand or another you
look back to the house and hope
to read reassurance in the blue
whistle of smoke the chimney exhales,
but carry the gnaw of worry
with you nonetheless:

in your mind the house
could already be engulfed,
the fire poised in that critical instant
of barbaric elegance
when the flame shapes to the fuel
it is consuming, the house transfigured
to a structure of livid light,
the very image of your losses.

That imagined radiance compels
the mind far beyond any
refutations you can invent
fueled by the certainty  that

time is the flame

and no one ever
returns to the home they left.

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