She was not a hunter
She did not compete
There were no hands on the tinder clocks, rebinding feats.
When it rained, she stayed dry
Her hearth and rug, small morsels of comfort clutched
For not venturing out, salved potential for harm.
She grew up on the black hard bread of fear
Of the river breaking its banks and drowning
Those she loved
It was an inherited sense of loss
Passed down through heavy curtains, generations of individuals, feeling cast off
All the instability of fine china, balancing, teetering, turning to shattered lotuses.
She saw what happened when they lied and said she was safe
She could feel the pink welts, smell the violation, as it poured down the road, a torrent of what humanity can do
To a child.
She grew scars as self armor
Moved further to the fireplace to touch the source of its continual scald
When it stormed outside she didn’t join the rushing tide
The pinches, taunts, jostling, glut on perpetual war
Plasma and soldiers, drunk on devouring dear goodness
She stayed listening to the sound of the rasping wind
Beating on the old oak door
As if everything possible came together and fought
To get inside.
She stayed set apart from her given trajectory, a kite who cut her wings
Turning to liquid and back into wax, only to melt, nearing fire
They say fear is an echo, set the trap, watch it snap back
Until, submerged there’s no end, but the point you began, to let it rule.
She watched fear remove, her skin, her sight, and blind with fright, she consumed her own shadow
Till it was the only place to return, and burning into reduction she saw the reflection of someone with nothing to lose.
Expunging soot from her stained lungs, she let herself pass through the cloak of heat, demolishing every trace
Rising from emptiness, becoming ash in air and last dancer of ember, she saw
Hands spin trees into forests, reclaiming what was lost, in hungering inferno.
A girl who closed the door and checked beneath the bed, was gone
In her place the outline of a cowering form, afraid, yet, stepping from
The thin ledge we believe protects us from imagined harm
When all along we torment ourselves with far greater, considered terrors
Better that we face head on, destroy facade, turn to rubble and rebuild
Our resolution for survival, as we will always near, fire.