View From the Hot Rock by Greg Bell

View From the Hot Rock

The sun is crackling
now on granite boulders
piled in disarray
as frozen in mid-shift
as molten immobility
and heat is oozing up
to drive the cave bears
rumbling out
from fiery crevices
to claw at stones
and scorch their paws
then roar in helpless rage
at the inescapable

They slice the air
to swipe at me
and miss
me seated on the flat
and only mossy stone
out of reach
for only now

Snakes are seething
on their bellies
pissed and breathing
spit from hell
fangs bared
for taste of flesh
dripping honey-venom
they look at me
with threatening eyes
a hint of death
trembles in my spine

There is no turning back

Wish what I will
there’s nothing for it
but to bear the heat
thread the needle up
up the path serpentine
and trust in possibility
of blue-skyed Golden Sun

Only the dragon
rousing underneath the rocks
cocks his ear in pleasure
at the mounting fire
(brother to his sister Phoenix)
flame is fuel
to wings that would be spread

And as I remember Icarus
the dragon tells me
fire put to proper ore
with heavenly alchemy
creates the glowing crucible
kindles rising pressure
tempers diamond
from the coal

Greg Bell writes because he must. A critical illness finally roused him to publish in 2013. He’s since placed work in literary journals & anthologies and was the 2019 recipient of the Kowit Poetry Prize. He’s the author of the hybrid poetry collection Looking for Will: My Bardic Quest with Shakespeare (Ion Drive, 2015) and two award-winning plays: [1] Says he, ‘We are the witnesses, the Jiminy Crickets, the agents of change’; [2] let’s go!

Image Credit: Diamond-cut wallpaper abstract [] spanning colors to symbolize the red hot stress of adversity to the cool blue of hope

Greg Bell
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