Writing to be rid of it, a pyre of paper:
sacrificial vessel of words.
Ease them to the flame.
Torn edges light quickly
the weight of the past, wax dripping
the binds of memory, smoky spirals fading
Sweep the past into the fire
The cold stare in the coffee shop: gone.
Misplaced contempt for bus driver: emolliated
along with failed math tests
uncomfortable cafeteria meals
Take it- the early childhood fears
how I ran from the darkness in the hallway
how I almost drowned in the pool
drunk, still holding my cigarette aloft.
I couldn’t ever drown any memories
they surfaced from the sand far too early in the morning
spewing watery venom and the smell of low tide
I shed them as tears and they came back
through my skin to swim again in my ocean
I spoke them and had them spoken back to me
A lit candle is a small thing
but fire is fire and what it does is burn
Burn, word by word, slip away
The darker space beyond the penumbra
rife with the ghosts of unwanted nouns and verbs,
my hands glow weakly, lighter, thinner,
clearer and redder, the veins below my skin.
Cleanse me of my story.
Capillaries etch out hieroglyphs
I read them backward from the inside
like a note taped to a window
Will I soon be gone from here-
a bereft parchment shell, a kite of paper?
Words stream from my fingertips,
I read them finally as they hiss into the flame.
It sputters, flickers and sways
What are we but our stories as they shape us?
Take it- what is left but smoke rising gently into nothing
and inert wax slowly seizing
as the flame of the era sputters and sways?
(Smoke and ash and shapeless wax…)

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