Burning the Bed

Carefully you balanced the old mattress against the box spring to create a teepee on that frozen December patch behind the house, carefully you stacked cardboard in the hollow and touched the match to corners till flame crawled along the edges in a rosy smudge before shooting twenty-five feet into darkening air. Fire gilded each looming, shadowed tree, gilded our faces as we stood with shovel and broom to smack down sparks.  So much love going up in smoke. It stung our eyes, our lungs. Pagodas, terraces, domes, boudoirs flared, shivered, and crumpled as the light caved in, privacies curled to ash-wisp, towers toppled, where once we’d warmed each limb, fired each nerve, ignited each surprise. And now at dusk, our faces reddened in heat so artfully lit, we needed all that past, I thought, to face the night. 

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