The Spark

by Jane O. Wayne


If it were,
though I much doubt it,
wouldn’t it be less leaf
than breeze, more winter
than summer, and nothing to
weigh it down—
not the log, but the smoke rising,
say the rippling
behind a boat, or the hollow in the sand
a body leaves?
In any case, doesn’t show itself,
beguiles instead, like a face
behind a veil. Heart, some say—
others head. I’ve heard, too,
it briefly hovers
after the last breath. No proof though,
only the cold draft in the room, nothing
more to go on—
as if a species of air
akin to flight itself, the slow
unwinding of the maple pod,
the tree-to-ground
so effortless, so final.

JANE O. WAYNE’S work has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, The American Scholar, The Journal, The Cincinnati Review, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Northwest, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Verse Daily and elsewhere. Her books include Looking Both Ways, which received the Devins Award for Poetry, and A Strange Heartwhich received the Marianne Moore Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award, and From the Night Album (Pecan Grove) and The Other Place You Live (Mayapple Press).