Joanna Pearson

The Arsonists in Love



We lusted after luster, lit our fill
of itchy matches, loosed a quickening blaze
to pop and flicker, lapping up the spill
of iridescent fuel. We’d trace the craze
of glass, testing the give of beam and joist
as lintels warped to wishbones. When they cracked,
we made a wish for radiance, rejoiced
while walls collapsed. It was a flagrant act
to burn the place we lived as if we’d spare
some light for later, as if we could make love
destroy itself then make its own repair—
as if the blotting shape that loomed above
us molting blackened feathers were a bird
and not the darkness we had now incurred.

Joanna Pearson’s first book of poetry, Oldest Mortal Myth, was selected for the 2012 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. She lives in Baltimore where she works as a resident physician.