Respect for Fire Is a Respect That’s Been Taught

We underestimate the need
to understand through touch.

Far away from his mother and father
Moshe Silman is ninety-four percent burns

to the body, a tower of flames reaching
toward what we can only name.

He sacrificed himself, said Moshe’s sister
after giving the doctors permission

to remove the tubes feeding life
into what was left of her brother.

He arrived in Tel Aviv Saturday night
with gasoline and a suicide note:

The state of Israel stole from me and left me
with nothing. I will not be homeless.

The flame is always dominant.
The vigilance always the same.


Jacob Victorine is a performance poet and MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches undergraduate Writing & Rhetoric. A member of the 2011 Jersey City National Slam Team, his poetry has been featured on IndieFeed: Performance Poetry. Recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, his poems appear or are forthcoming in publications such as: Columbia Poetry Review, Phantom Limb, PANK, and Muzzle Magazine, for which he also writes book reviews.