Alembic. Poem by Seth Jani


There is an alembic,
Burgundy, deep-light, surface-dark.
That I drink when my heart
Is most at stake.

And it alternately transfigures
Or degrades the life around me.
It is a gamble.
A tincture full of concentrated chance.

At the onset my love may become
An angel, or in a twist
A whole crowd of ghosts
That I sneak and dart from.

It may carry me, bone-drunk,
Through the stars,
Or lay me down in a swarming
Mat of insects and decay.

Whatever happens, I take it happily.
Scared of the middle outcome,
The sober, latched-up center,
The option that doesn’t sing.

Seth Jani originates from rural Maine but currently resides in Seattle, WA. He is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( and his own work has appeared throughout the small press in places like The Foundling Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Red Ceilings Press and Black Heart Magazine. More about him and his work can be found at