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by Eli Skipp

Elke bursts into flame. The coyotes rear back, slavering and
whimpering, and begin to flee. Elke is a pyre in the burning
sun, her heart's embers alight again, reveling despite the
agony of her melting skin.

She reaches for the coyotes as they run, and the fire
leaps from her limbs like little toads, seeking the dry
chaparral and finding it with eager hands. They crawl down
its length and eat it up and leap and leap and leap.

The whole place goes up in wildfire, the smoke blocking out
the midday sun and choking the land, and it takes weeks to
burn out.

The coyotes are gone, and the bobcats, and the deer, and of course
Elke. The chaparral reproduces ad infinitum, spots of red and
green and brown on the black swath of erstwhile parkland, and
there is no one left to keep the gate.


Posted on 11/26/2013
Copyright © 2022 Eli Skipp

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Sarah Wolf on 12/02/13 at 02:59 PM

Coyotes bring such nice images to mind which is for me unexpected. Always think in wolves but never coyotes. I like the coyotes almost as much as the wolves.

Posted by Coleman Demiurge on 12/15/14 at 04:34 PM

Vivid in its beauty and its wonderful sense of forlorn loneliness, depression, and desolation. Frightening, yet wonderful, all fifteen of them. I find I can identify with Elke, your character. I'm hoping to burst into flames myself at some point, but it hasn't happened yet - something to look forward to, I suppose. The fire might bring destruction with it, but that's better than the darkness its absence leaves behind. I don't know; maybe the darkness is better in the end. Thank you, Miss Skipp; exceptional work, as always.

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