Fire Dance

It’s taken several days
to gather the trash
in the heavy steel barrel.
Old boxes, handwritten poems
and anything else
that flame can consume.
I light a scrap of paper
and toss it in,
watching the fire spread
as the flames begin their dance.
It is a movement of conversion
as the flames take their fuel
from the things no longer needed
and create a special beauty,
orange tongues reaching skyward,
the spent fuel reduced
to a pile of black and white ash.
Smoke rises from the flames
marking the fire’s location
for those who can’t see the flames.
Soon the fuel is spent
and I close the barrel.
But I begin gathering fuel
for the next fire,
filling the barrel again
so the fire’s dance can resume.

Joe Stout is a poet and the author of multiple compilations, including his most recent release Natural: Poems About Nature. He lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains with his fiancé, Anna; their overlord, Eddie the cat; and an overeager security team, Toby and Teagan (a min-pin and a daschund). When he’s not trying to find a way to use his writing talents to become insanely rich, Joe can be found exploring the mountains with bluegrass spilling out his car’s open windows or binging Netflix or Youtube.

In addition to his compilations, Joe’s poetry can be found on his website, He also has an Instragram, @jstoutwriting, and can be found on Facebook @Joe Stout Writing.


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