Arete Campfire

by Jeff Burt

How innocent of you to think 
that light and darkness I divide.
You almost stick your face 
in the burning logs of the campfire
to hold back the night, 
and somewhere on the longitude
of your body light splits 
from darkness, chest bathes 
in heat and spine shivers 
from the damp cold air
and fear of predators 
and irritants approaching.

If I love the light, 
I do not love 
the darkness any less.
How often do I find 
diminished in the dark 
things that have hidden 
to survive from things in the light? 
How should I not love 
those lost in fear 
no less than those 
who live in confidence?
Not love those in ignorance 
any less than those in knowledge,
not love those who quake with anger 
any less than those who stride in peace?
I am the whole 
so love the whole.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and a July abundance of plums. He has contributed to Heartwood, Williwaw Journal, Red Wolf Journal, and Clerestory. He won the Cold Mountain Review 2017 Poetry Prize. His work can be found at

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