Die Gar Traurige

Michaela Mayer
Content Warnings
In the crumbling storybook of morality tales,
Mar 7, 2022 1:30 PM


In the crumbling storybook of morality tales,

little Harriet plays with matches and catches fire.

Her cats cry as her body becomes ash, their tears

pooling, putting her out too late: in the tinted picture

the flames extend from her back, incendiary wings.

As a child, you read this story again and again.

Lambent, from the Latin, lambere, which means

to lick: flame licking your ankles, faithful as

an animal—so loving, it wants to consume you.

The old cliché: tongues of flame, loving our flesh

to blackened bone. To become a glowing column

of tangerine and gold, festival-colored and darkly

smoking: the oaken dream of a carven effigy,

your wooden life. A nightmare, wrapped in sheer

and brightly shining bolts of fire. You may turn

and turn, but you cannot extinguish it: let it saint

you, this fierce and lively pillar of burning.