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Flicking the Burn

by Ariane Scott

She’s not an ashtray kind of girl or a stub in the dirt, not a boot grind on blacktop
or a negligent free throw, she ends the burn in one swift shift, finger-thumb-flick,
cherry-fly demise.


She sits on the ground in dirty snow, stars fall liquid cold cause they can’t
flame forever and she understands them, catches them in her hair,
one billion pounds of water weighting space and when her head hits
the ground she wants to hear the thud, feel the thrash, wants to sink
in white crystal with the wet in her eyes like she is raining away,
she is a verb and she is a fall, she is a straight plummet from the sky,
she is so quiet.


If we leave something behind then it must be this, our metaphysical descents
and climbs, the way we fall and the way things fall apart and the way we rise
and build again, the way we cry in the shower like tear camouflage and come
and leave and end and birth, the way we fly and crawl and swim the mud,
walk the water, sink, tie our hands behind our backs and break free alone,
pray our memories fail us, thank god for that, the belief we don’t know,
the armor we bear and cast and there is pain in that, how we clutch our shields
and say we are brave.


Crash me hard, snap my skin and I will be fine.
You will be fine, too.


In the end we sit in the rain and the snow and try to feel, try to write a poem,
we judge and pronounce and throw needles like little hailstorms,
finger-jab as if we had something to gain, we jab ourselves sharpest of all
but really now, really, is that fruitless or does that make us good
in some small way?


Is a cloud passing overhead or is this lights out, we’re caught in the dimming,
caught in the cloak, we could sit here and shake or build moons with our hands
but we’re courting sleep and we’re courting tomorrow, searching for land
more set in time, aching for phallic ember-tipped dreams and jonesing for flesh
we can light, we can suck, we can burn.



Author's Note: 2006

Posted on 06/04/2012
Copyright © 2021 Ariane Scott

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Meghan Helmich on 07/03/12 at 08:55 PM

I love your voice. I am always pleasantly surprised with your work :)

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