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Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Nancy Kuhl

The Affair of the Fire Eaters

So much better the brittle ash,
better than tearing. So much
seashell gone silent, spiral, translucent

white burn.The chemical smell of it.
A struck match to a photograph —
bubbles, blackens. Run the film

backwards: the fire goes out
when he holds the match to the baton.
What we do we do with the body.

Home movies emptied on to a sheet
hung in the basement. Wife of soot, wife
of burnt hair and the man gone electric.

Everything is soaked in the slippery
smell of gasoline. The woman he loves
holds a drink like you’d hold a pistol.

A joke’s a joke so tell it.
The fire eater is reckless, head back
eyes wide open, wide open spilling

red reflection. They can’t help but
think of his salt cooled mouth.
If it’s a sideshow bring them all.

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
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