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He Lit a Fire with Icicles

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For W.G. Sebald, 1944-2001

This was the work
of St. Sebolt, one
of his miracles:
he lit a fire with
icicles. He struck
them like a steel
to flint, did St.
Sebolt. It
makes sense
only at a certain
body heat. How
cold he had
to get to learn
that ice would
burn. How cold
he had to stay.
When he could
feel his feet
he had to
back away.

Kay Ryan, “He Lit a Fire with Icicles” from The Niagara River.  Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan.  Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.  All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Source: The Niagara River (Grove/Atlantic Inc., 2005)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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He Lit a Fire with Icicles

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