i am at the fire:
kneeling, gently curving
into the glow, framing palms
at each side. red crackles
in the hazy dwindle of flame and i
breathe, feed it oxygen,
but the darkness deepens. light
in gold ochre and crimson
flickers across my face. i am
desperate: prodding embers breaking
into soot. i am ashen, spilling
my lungs into the fire;
they are lost in heat, cremated.
my embouchure is not tight enough
to hold a mourning hymn. i must
keep these memories alive, but
they burn burn burn.
i need to see you, speak
with you, watch the sparks
shower from your eyes and lips;
in the dark you become
so many things—i need this fire
to hold you close. i am ignited:
too far gone, i will become
a charred skeleton, my breath
seeped into smoke and
mirrors. you are fading in
the shadows, i am breathing in
the fumes, and silky dark dreams
clot the night. this is not enough
to keep me warm.
the fire dies.