by Jeremy Michael Reed

muein is the Greek root of the word “mystery,”
meaning to close one’s eyes or to initiate

We arrive in the night by the cut path
shingled into woodchips that reflect
light slightly differently than grass,
affording a sense of confirmation,
stepping forward knowing what comes next.

We sing songs, pray with eyes shut,
listen to the rhythm of all else:
birds, swish of water.

We tell tales, look into flame,
but I’m caught by the offhand thing:
disposing of wine by pouring into fire.

Lit purple, every face lifts,
changing features, shifting bones,
then dark.

JEREMY MICHAEL REED is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published or forthcoming in The CressetStill: The JournalValparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthologies Appalachian Nature and Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He lives in Knoxville, where he’s the Editor-in-Chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts and co-director of The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series.

Photo: “Ghostly Fire” by Julie Raccuglia