Elemental

Embers of a nighttime blaze
illuminate a heart covered in soot.
Spirit buried beneath the ashes
of a good girl following instructions,
reading the fine print, coloring in
the lines, too afraid of a burn not
yet felt to brush away the smudges
of grime and reveal the hot coals within.

“As the city burns,” Andra Day says,
and I feel my bones turn to steal
beams, my skin layers of speckled
concrete. The spark of my soul
balances on a match I never bought,
sulfur filling my nose, smoke clouding
my eyes and clearing my vision—
I can see clearly now, the sky is lit
with my light—the body of my flame
dancing to a tune long silenced.

Warmth emanates, heat radiates,
and my fire thrives on a wick
that reminds me to push aside the ashes,
press them to my forehead, and shine
against the tallow of everyone else’s
standards.

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