I would never burn.

by Aaron Blair

I sifted through the ashes,
looking for a shocking white sliver of bone,
a tooth, some hair, anything
to remind me that what had burned
had been alive before, had drawn breath,
had inhaled the scalding air
that set its screaming lungs on fire.
Instead, I found nothing.
I knew nothing intimately,
almost as well as nothing knew me,
and where I had been able to imagine heat,
the sibilant hiss of fat melting, flesh crisping,
there was now a void, cool and black.
The vacuum had taken the shape of a woman,
with a woman's eyes and mouth,
but nothing behind them, no spark.
I saw myself there, a reflection
of a great yawning emptiness,
and I knew I would never breathe again.
I knew I would never burn.


Posted on 04/07/2014
Copyright © 2023 Aaron Blair

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