A Sea of Candles

for Sarah Hannah

You lived somewhere for very long.
But the avenues by which you
could recall it
Have been closed for new construction.
– Sarah Hannah

When I hosted at the Tapestry of
Voices, Sarah was the opening
act. I didn’t have a clue

her candle was close to
being snuffed by her own
hand. The room was filled,

some seats by her students,
always a positive statement
about a teacher when those

who sit at your feet as you
speak attend a non-mandatory
event. I didn’t have a clue,

not even when her eyes met
mine how close she was to
the edge, but then I’m a counselor.

Some of her thesis focused
on Sylvia Plath when she
studied at Columbia U.,

later to teach at Wesleyan
besides playing guitar in
a heavy metal band. Heavy

metal guitar strings wrapped
around her ankles, verses of
poetry filling her throat, an

“obscure road winds me
sinister” she said, “Gas lamps
flicker” as they did on the

street where Sylvia Plath
died. Jack Spicer, according
to his own words, was killed

by his vocabulary, Sarah Hannah
was cut to pieces by her verse,
burned to beautiful dripped wax

by her own candle, a sea of candles,
a poet adrift, a light lifted by the
waves, then washed under whitecaps

on the evening of a salty wind.
A poet adrift, the fire hidden
by the mirror in her eyes.