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The Fire of Twenty-Thirteen

 

It only takes a moment, and then
her body burns, the skin lifting away

in the shape of leaves—an oak, a willow branch, a maple—
as if she’s known this language for years.

She is screaming, she is speaking
in tongues, she is a woman

lost in dreams. Around here, it is only heat
and burn—and then there is the numbness, too.

A chill. A spider finding its way
through the nerves, the rope.

In case of a fire, the elevator is closed.

The spider takes the stairs, the spine,
like a ladder, looking for a way out:

a vibration, a scream,

the mouth is open.

 

*

 

When it comes, the meaning of water
is transformed.

It is not soothing and cool—it burns.
It suffocates.

The blue is a form of darkness
inside the house.

 

*

 

Then the house is no longer a house.

 

*

 

It is as if she has become a part of it—
the pictures, the clothing, melting—

the water seeming to strip away
what skin she believes is left. More blue.

More numbness.

 

*

 

When it comes, the color of the sun and the sky
are yellow, like a crayon, and then she is seeing

the house from the outside: the burn,
the tiles, the shingles, folding,

the main doorway like a mouth,
left open in a scream, bending, twisting,

into what only can be a more painful cry.

The sound that comes to mind reminds her
of wolves, echoing in a canyon,

absent of trees
that were sent away by the heat.

 

 

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