sestina synthetica by Tamyka Bell, Kathy Jacobs, Rachel B. Baxter, Wendi Adair, Jack Preston King, Raymond Arroyo, and sestina master Renae Tobias
So just one grain of dust, one catalyst,
Can spark this condensate, this change of form
That stifles each of us. I sense a shift
From hope to sorrow; lightning in the sky
Now fades to charcoal. Drink up — wine, not water
In this, I fear, you leave us with no choice.
Colors crackle across the sky without warning or choice
Iron filings pull us close magnetizing old fights, a catalyst
For memories hard as brass. Brilliant tears, bluer than water,
Flood over us. Brilliant reds explode, shifting their fiery form —
Brightening the night. Memories of fireworks past fill the sky
Booming louder and louder as the Earth moves and lives slowly shift
What is your role in this grand display? Do you shift
In your seat, eager to pounce on the next choice
To make? Or are you quiet, staring at the sky
Assuming only stillness until the emergence of a catalyst —
Something external to augment your form?
Are you steering the ship or just floating on the water?
Gazing at the moon’s reflection, water
Bobbing, gently glowing ripples shape-shift
Sky bombs bursting, seas swelling, changing form
Crashing, smashing, overboard, it’s our choice
Sink or swim. I reach, you grasp — catalyst.
Sprawling, heaving, we wash onto the sky.
Will we now spread our wings and claim the sky
As one? Or plummet, broken, to the water,
Felled victim to this fire, this catalyst?
Do we suffer change? Or in this shifting
’Tween sink or swim, could soaring be our choice?
Will rage of fire consume us or transform?
And so I see you take your final form.
Where your lightning forks the sky.
As if Zeus himself gave me one choice,
To indulge in blissful wine or wistful water.
It was foolish of me to think my fate may shift
For this hellish fire has always been my catalyst.
Bereft my winged form, by heat: sun’s cruel catalyst,
Plummet from cerulean sky; heavy curtain as colors shift.
Seized upon final choice; graceful tumult toward crystal water
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These stanzas were also individually published by their authors: