Let It Burn

Punctuated

on either

side

with fleshy pink

his gray head

lolled.

The tips of

his fingers

perched

on the edge

of the walnut slab.

Under him

the stool

teetered.

On the other side

across the aisle,

against the wall,

behemoth,

behind the glass bottles

of blue, amber, green,

edged

in yards of

beveled wood

gold and flaking,

a mirror hung.

Reflections

obscured by

the cloudiness

of time’s passing.

A glass,

in its emptiness,

      sat

           still,

                self-conscious,

waiting

for its pour.

Gnarled,

knobby

like the limb

of a

hundred year oak,

an index

slid forth

across the sticky

wood,

“Another,”

           he spat.

A blazing

swallow

stoked

the fire

in his belly

and amidst

the ashy remains

of talent and opportunity

erupted

      he shoulda

           she shoulda

                shoulda

                     been

                          a

                             boy.

Home he

tottered

darkening

his daughter’s

doorway

hissing

      unhinged.

Into her bones

the inky notes

seeped

sowing an

eternal winter.

The cold

became

her haven.

And hers, who

would come

after, she too

would be

groomed

for the deep

long winter.

This one, 

kept inside

her cocoon,

      obedient,

           silenced

by the black

      strain

           gifted

and like

her mother before
the stifled unwanted

escaped

and stuck

like chewed gum

on the wall

mounting

      her

           shame

and the more

      she pushed

           herself

                into hiding

the more

      she tethered

           and restrained

the more

      the shame

                seethed

                     and flickered

                                    and lit

inside of her

a life

     which

          refused

               to be

                     silenced.

She

     lets

          her

               fire

                    burn.

   

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