Alphabet on Fire
Christina Mengert

Hear Christina Mengert read poems including “Alphabet on Fire” and “Alphabet on Fire (2).”

Alphabet on Fire

Signifying garlands               this zealous isle

with love’s convention          overspread:

let the satellites wander          primordial

& from this heat                     quantum attraction

(I mean, I mean, I mean)

syntax astrological—                       observable universe of roses,

orchids, lilies—                     until momentum orders

orbit (as law) and blooming sense.

Alphabet on Fire (2)

Like in a dream
           where intention catches
in the instrument

(words came halting)

a lever—levee—released

and language aflame.

Do it again.    It’s miraculous—

meaning piercing symbols

we offer like alphabets

of flowers       the tongue, love,

is a fire                      transparent

razing fire       clarifying

a form             forged before its calling

then after—

Christina Mengert is the author of As We Are Sung (Burning Deck Press) and coeditor of 12x12: Conversations in 21st Century Poetry and Poetics (University of Iowa Press). She makes films and teaches literature and writing for Bard College’s Prison Initiative Program in New York.