xiv. Burn

July 30, 2011

I burned her.

I set her alight
and watched the flames rise
and the smoke curl.

I watched her skin blister,
her hair crinkle
and her smile turn to ashes.

At first it felt extreme
but once the photos were gone,
I began to feel a weight lifting.

I felt the curtain being pulled back
and the shadows start to fade
so I carried on.

Next, I threw her clothes on the flames
and for a moment her fragrance filled the room
before the smoke thickened.

A black tower rose up
from the waste paper bin
in the middle of the living room.

Thick black smoke,
the colour of my heart,
caressed the ceiling.

Before long, I had burned it all:
photos, clothes, DVDs, gifts;
I’d even thrown her favourite mug on the flames.

But somehow,
memories of her lingered on;
she refused to be forgotten.

I realised that a part of her
still lived inside me,
that as long as I loved her, she’d never let go.

So there was only one thing for it;
I had one last thing to burn,
one last thing to cleanse of her.

I felt the flames beckoning me,
urging me to finish the job,
and so I gave in to them.

I jumped on the flames
and the last thing I saw before my soul was consumed
was her.

ii. Come Mourning

January 2, 2011

The curtain cracked, the light blazed in;
At first his eyes screamed at the burn.
He closed them tight against the glare,
And took some time that they adjust.

He saw her now, all bathed in gold,
Her long legs crossed and one arm
Wrapped around her chest so that,
She might preserve some modesty.

It struck him odd that she would care,
With what they’d done just hours before
And yet he understood at once –
The girl last night had not been her.

He took her in, from feet to hair,
And it was clear that she’d transformed.
The dark had given her a veil,
A barrier between the two.

So radiant her beauty, now,
As morning light dispelled this shroud,
He felt guilt flare up deep inside,
For all the sin he’d dressed her with.

Her face showed not a single hint,
Of demons that she carried with,
Or of the animal inside –
Kept under heavy lock and key.

For last night that’s what he had seen,
Not the innocent before him here,
But wild, impassioned, brazen lust.
He did not recognise her now.

The flames of guilt enveloped him,
And he was forced to look away.
He searched the bed and then the floor,
To find the clothes that hours before,

He’d torn from her and cast aside.
He found a shirt, his own for now,
And gave it her to cover up.
She took it with a silent smile.

She looked at him and smiled again,
Their eyes now met, the first time since,
She’d looked up at him in the dark,
And pulled their naked bodies close.

His back was scratched; he felt the raw
Tracks that she’d carved into his skin.
Then as she turned to find more clothes,
He saw where he had marked her, too:

His brand was seared into her cheek.
The red teeth marks looked deep, he thought.
He wondered if his bite had hurt;
He wondered if she felt it still.

She pulled on jeans and it was gone,
The only telltale sign she bore,
That chastity and self-control,
Had been unbuttoned in the night.

She let the curtain fall once more
Across the window, blocking light;
The shadows rushed back to the room,
An echo of the night now gone.

He watched her pick her underwear
From off the floor and carry it
Into his en suite bathroom, where
He heard her cleanse herself of him.

She came back in the room, now clothed.
She gave another nervous smile,
This one directed at the floor.
She slid her feet into her shoes.

She stood now at his bedside, shy.
She did not look at him, stretched out,
Atop the sheets. A pause, a frown,
Her lips began to part, then no.

Without a word she turned from him,
And walked toward the bedroom door.
She left him lying there alone,
And though he’d known that she would go,

He felt an awful sense of loss.
Bereft not just because she’d left,
But for the innocence he felt,
He’d broken while she had been his.