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Apr 2019
I. A gene for combustion
passed down through summers
spent fishing mud-slick tributaries,
cultivating a taste for wildness
wiggling on metal hooks,
sun-bleached shells
cracking at the weight of
tar-speckled teeth;
an animal made supine,
made to mold like clay,
a carcass of love

II. thrown into a kiln,
now discarded, abandoned
hungry maggots taken to flesh,
burrowing in the soft, hidden places
where viscera meets homesickness
where memory becomes gun smoke
and home—the place where
I sweep up the broken pieces
of pottery—becomes a grave.

III. Here lies a familiar body:
bleached bone as kindling,
a house pregnant with smoke,
then fire;
this is where all
witch hunts begin—
woman made child
made martyr
made monster
made firewood,
a temporary shelter,
not a fire to be prayed to.

IV. Burning.
Morning star plummeting,
oxygen-rich, dying poor
on a back porch, basket of
vipers spilling out like kerosene
and into the woods—
a brushfire
voice of God burning
through the screen door saying
“He wept.”

V. I named the fallen star
dead but not dead,
reborn in the face of my
who stares
into the 500-mile long
reflection in the rearview mirror
of his ash-colored Chevy
to a place God-touched
and wild.

VII. He tucks the lion parts
of himself in the furnace,
shedding glory for loss:
to lose the rattle of the caged
animal in his chest,
the fires that hunger for more
than the pines,
to sleep without dreams of
funeral pyres covered in

VIII. Today,
I am a ghost caught in daylight
here and not here
mind on fire
facing Lazarus in the hallway
hospital gown as yellow as
charcoal staining his lips
while I burst into flame,
burning screams,
a mirror’s reflection
of the worst
parts of himself.
Written by
serpentinium  23/F/Florida
   Fawn and Darrell Landstrom
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