Pyre

I stand before your funeral pyre,
a lit torch in my hand.
Your straw-stuffed corpse is dry as dust
and ready to go up like tinder.
I hesitate, sweat rolls down my brow,
there’s no good reason why not now
but
      I can’t
                do it.

How long has it been?
since you nobly strode
up the sakura-lit boulevard,
clad in white, with gold tassels on your shoulders?
How long,
since you baubled the precious blue sky in your palm
like a common sapphire,
and made the sparks of fundamental forces fly
between the sharp probes of your imagination?
What was it, again, that drained the blood
from your flush face to make
the deathly papery cheeks here now?

Maybe … maybe I could keep you!
Stuffed like a trophy! A tschotschke
to decorate my walls with the crystallization
of so many past dreams.
But … but corpses breed disease, they say,
and the say dead souls should be freed of their vessels,
and so, I am here to burn you.

The oxidizing reaction is driven by
an irreversible disordering of the patterns of your flesh.
I think that’s it: there’s no going back
once this hungry flame licks up your cuff, up your sleeve.
Who am I kidding? You’re already dead!
If I tried to inject some moisture back in your dry tissues,
you would just turn to a foul, stenchy mush
and from that filth I would never recover.

I watch this moment hang in time
like Damocles’ sword swinging to Zeno’s paradox.
This instant will be over an eternity from now,
when I have gained the courage
to leap over the gap to a new world,
without you.
I fear falling into the chasm between,
but I know, somehow,
that the light you give will show my way
and keep my footing sure.

So let me set you free.
Let me see what Phoenix spirit rises
from your cast-off material trappings.
Your thermal photons, your energy
will follow me as your matter never could.
I must let you stream
past atmosphere and outer space
continuing for eternity at the speed of an instant.

one last breath
to fix your form upon my memory,
as, obliterating your form,
I leave.

I wrote the first draft of this poem on 19 May this year, and wrote the second draft right before I read it at the Innisfree Cafe open mic on 20 May.

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One thought on “Pyre

  1. […] works more regularly. Sometimes I will mention the current status of the work, like I did with the last poem I posted, which is only a second draft. There will also be times I post an unfinished work as if it were […]

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