The Conservation of Inferno

Like Hecate in a housedress,
I stack triumphant cans on the shelf
behind the glass jar of hot peppers
I discovered while kitchen scrubbing.

Only the cruel brand of fate
would spontaneously regenerate
moths inside the same storage
as dried flames of cayenne.

More than once I have shaken inferno
to rouse wings for flying.
By then most legs were crumpled up
in a strange act of rigor mortis.

Sometimes after stoking the oven
with temptations of lamb roast,
cinnamon bread or butter cookies,
my arms flush red with devilry.

I grab the container and shake
a prophecy of karma, moth-life
with capsaicin which circulates
burns through venation.

I think of crank callers, catechists
doorbelling early Sunday mornings,
that drunk driver who ran over
my rose bushes, and shake harder.

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