Your backseat magicks worked; the flames leaped high, curled and licked
at the walls with full ferocity, with quick-burning desire, with an ache
soon left unanswered by blackened walls and ashes settling in a void of
your own creation. Sitting silently asleep, I awoke to flames you'd cast
from nowhere I understood, burned as I could not fathom; yet they consumed,
and I was wracked by the smoke to tears which I don't think ever hit the
burning floor. I staggered for weeks, with fevered plans of contigency
rushing to explain, to find a way out, or to pull you back in to... to...
to cool the flames in some way, to make it calm again. But the flames burned,
and the plastic melted and the curtains smoldered and somehow, so quickly,
all was ashes; no rebuilding.
With time, I was able to return, sift through the wreckage, to look
ardently for matches, for gas, for some reason that this fire burned out
of control as I slept.
I never found them.
All I ever found for fuel was the terrible loneliness of the room you'd
left me in, the lure of the phoenix's rebirth mingled with the mockery
of the flames&emdash; these endings are for always.
By this time I am dead to you.
You've sat through and sung at my funeral, scattered some ashes on waves
and in mountain pools&emdash;so poetic. Me? I sat in the back behind
the bushes and sang Magnetic Fields songs until I agreed with the words,
but sang with an intensity that faded faster than I thought the drama allowed.
Somehow I hadn't the energy. I watched your tears fall and saw your red
eyes look up with some glimmer of sincerity, of truth, and somehow that
shook the last of the ashes off, somehow that let me go. Without you knowing
for certain I'd been there, I left the funeral dry-eyed.
By now you might be on your way to an unsmiling life in a small city
apartment. By now you might be on your way to those same mountain pools
on the rarefied heights. By now you might be looking out across a sea of
placid cloudbanks on a sunrise free of lightning. Me? I'm wandering off
where the lightning went. Somewhere I'm a phoenix waiting for a spark.