You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Literary Diversions

by Richard Stern

fine accountclumsy New York Review of Books review
             ...the wood no longer can abjure
agreement with that flame which you're outthrowing
Come, you, you the last one I recognize,
incurable pain within the web of flesh.
As my mind burns, you see I burn
in you; the wood that long resisted
the flame you feed. Now I nourish you and burn in you.
My mildness becomes in your fury
a fury out of hell, not here.
Totally pure, totally unplanned, free of the future,
I climb on the tangled pyre of suffering,
certain of never getting anything back
for this heart whose reserves are gone.

Am I still the one who, unrecognized, burns?
I bring no memories here.
Life, life. To be outside it
While I burn.
       No one knows me.