The Fire

Today is the day you burn his things. A shiny grapefruit lies alone on the kitchen table. Don’t look at it, it will remind you of his shoulder rising up out of waves of sheets, pink and bitter and strong.

Make coffee, burn your tongue. Breathe through waves of morning fog. The suitcase hard and packed at the bottom of the stairs, full of things for the fire. Don’t look at it, it will remind you of him. His shirt, don’t look, his gray shirt with the holes everywhere that you wore to sleep and how he would stick his fingers through the holes and touch your shoulder blades. The card he gave you for your birthday, and his handwriting on the inside like spiders across the page saying you’re my favorite human. Don’t look. Let the door slam behind you and throw the suitcase in the car.

Today is the day you drive to the desert to burn his things. The city blurs concrete and glass refracting suns and you try to take different roads, but it’s no use, you went everywhere together. Don’t look at it, the parking lot where he kissed you in the dark with tacos in your mouths and laughing. Don’t look at the drive-in where you always said let’s go and never went. Don’t look at it or you’ll have to wonder where he is and if his hands are reaching through the holes of other shirts to touch the blades of other shoulders. Don’t.

 

Out in the desert under the blazing sun you build a fire. Sweat is pulled straight from your skin into the sky. Gigantic rocks bubble up from the ground like fat men’s bellies. Don’t look at them or you’ll be sick. The fire roars in the afternoon, reaching up to the sun. Don’t look or you’ll go blind. Lift the suitcase from the ground, leaden with his weight. Swing it up and into the flames and feel the fire heave back, singeing your eyes.

Now look. Look hard into the flames. Look at the walls dissolving. Look at the layers peeling off, curling over like dry leaves. Look at the crumbling box that held him captive under your bed, after he had walked so long ago. Look at the holes in the shirts where his hands used to be. Look at the cards bending and blackening, the books he gave you to read on lazy afternoons, fanning open in the flames, look at the notes, I love you more in spider, the cowboy hat, the feather he found on Lake Michigan and sent you in the mail, the blanket he wrapped around you when the stars were falling absolutely everywhere. Look at it. Watch it burn. Look in the end how it curls up and dances away. Look how you burn, and how your walls turn to ash, and how you reach up, free as smoke towards the sun.