The Phoenix or the Fire

by krstaten


Once, I held the new year poised on my fingertip,
a glass marble, smooth. Felt it tingle and linger;
kept it like a kiss or a whisper. Treated it delicate.
Loved it. Once, I kissed the new year
with all the same tenderness of a goodbye.

Imagine: The phoenix pokes its head out of the ashes
already hook-beaked and weary, beady eyes clouded.
Imagine: The phoenix leaves the womb its predecessor left
clothed in only half its feathers, clutching
to its new life by a wire as thin and short
as its dignity. Imagine this birth is only a continuation
of last life. Which came first: the bird
or the combustion? The ambition or the fireworks?

Once, I walked into the new year like it was a waterfall
and I couldn’t wait to drown. That was before I learned
the taste of the deluge. This city is only cold glass,
bearing reflections I cannot pull free. This city is only
ash, bearing seeds I’m afraid to water.