Your words burned.
“We need to talk” scorched,
“It’s not you” set my blood to seethe
all those words about finding yourself
were fiery nails through my heart.
One day I hope
a “maybe”, “perhaps another try”
will extinguish flames and salve again the steaming wounds.
In her eyes, flames.
I looked behind me. No fire, no low sun breaking the horizon.
I turned back.
The flames were deep within her, no longer hidden.
My breath caught.
Shall we have a bonfire, you ask? A bonfire, yes, an excellent fire that burns bones until our very scaffold of humanity cracks and crumbles into the original dust, and the dogs from the forest when all the people have gone will curl upwind from the embers, backs to the glow, one eye on the darkness….
What? Oh yes. Probably a few sparklers and some toffee apples for the youngsters. Roberta’s bringing quiche.
Some or many years ago of course my mum was there. Nine months earlier and the man they called my father had been too. Now both are disappeared, one too soon before the other, and the counting of the years wears thin.
The best thing remain the candles – if you forget the jokes about the fire risk and the firemen and now the fire service. Each candle stands for a memory, a year that has passed or a friend, and calmly shines its light into the future. The more candles on the cake, the brighter the light they cast, the better they show us what is to come.
Though, through fear, we may not want to know. So we blow out the candles and pinch out the stubs and blow away the memories and shade out the light. The future is arriving fast enough; I do not want to see it.
The cold fire of fear flared in his eyes. I stared back through the airlock, fixing my eyes on his until life was gone and he drifted backwards, falling away from the ship. He was gone. “I have saved the ship,” I said. Suddenly his body flared. “That’s impossible!” said the tall one standing next to me. As I touched him he too flared and fell in a pile of ash. The last two fired their weapons at me. My body soaked up the energy. “I have saved the ship,” I said. “Not the crew.” I reached out my hand.
He knew the steps but not the heart that caused them; she was wild, and spun and kicked. Thoughtful fire danced through them.
Poets in pyjamas
Autumn’s open fires
Warmth that surrounds us
Cats stretch and uncurl
Books and pens and papers lie now abandoned
The stranger looked past Kelly as the fire cleaned, hollowed, scoured the building. Flames danced in his dark eyes.
Kelly could not look away. The flames flickered higher and higher, the spinning blue lights behind her lit and shadowed his face.
Later, the sun coming up behind him darkened his face. The fire was dead but still they stood there, flames in his eyes still flaring.
He pulled the hood closer. He lifted her cold hand to his lips and blew gently on it. Time stopped. Blackness.
The stranger’s fingers were still linked with hers, the sun still rising. He began to walk away from the black dead building. Kelly followed and they ran side by side, fingers still locked together.
On the wasteland beyond the not yet burnt buildings they stopped, breathed heavily, the flames in Kelly’s eyes reflected in the stranger’s.
“Gonna do another one the mornin’?”