to make a morning

the little demons dance
their writhing orgiastic bodies
beating dark insistent drums
they rub their little bellies
sway suggestive little hips
faces red and ruddy in the flame

i made a flame

the wisps drifting tendrils
floating black and airy
light and airy banshees ever
screaming nightgowns
trailing skin of plaster
mouths a rictus screaming
screaming silent screaming

i made a scream

the fire is enormous
built of bone and love
and hope and fear
and death and pain
and lung and heart
and love and love
they exhort me, “jump”
they chant and, “jump”
they cry and, “jump”

it is my chant i made
a chant i smear the paint
i raise my spear i set my mouth
inhale and face my fear inhale
and i am brave and i am brave i run
and run i run and run and leap
lifting trailing streamers
clearing barely clearing flame
licking at my legs and landing
heaving burnt and smoking
still the other side alive

i made a hurt

and in silence then they wait
they wait for me to tend my burns
they wait for me to wrap my cuts
they wait in patience as i feed
the fire banking it still higher
until the smallest demon starts
again i see him mouthing,

“jump,”

he mouths and
“jump,” they say and
“jump,” i catch my breath
they beat the drums i roar
the fire roars my blisters

burn i am not ready
i try my little rituals
again i paint my face
slap my chest i try
and yet this time
it isn’t in me
and i just
stop

and look
it is no longer
night a warming light
has crept across the horizon
looking down i feel the grass
soft beneath bare feet

i wiggle my toes

i put down my spear
and a big demon comes
with a bucket of water i wash
the war paint slowly
deliberately
from my beaten body

and scarred and hardened
strong and melted somehow
inside i turn to the wisps
who silent grin at me
and the demons
they part for me to pass
and the fire of my 20s
settles into smoking ash
sending tendrils drifting
curling up into a pink
and orange morning

i made a morning

i am 30 and today
i will be sober.

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