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POETRY
Bonefire
Virginia Luella

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Carefully I parcel them up,
the shreds and remnants,
the shards, now powerless
of all your seething selves.

I have piled them high
in a red wagon, rusting
a little on the bottom,
but strong in its soul.

While I pull you on past
sleeping houses and past
trees alive with tiny breathing,
you are remarkably silent.

I believe I may have broken you
somehow, in my search for
the truth, for the cold
unbending heart of you.

It is not important now
of course. I walk on, finding
the smoothest path through
the forest. You are not light.

When I break into the clearing,
red wagon banging my legs
as I come up short,
I see the wood is stacked.

I think I must have done
this myself, in a dream once.
I stand still and breathe
and the wild scent of sap

goes through me like gasoline.
There was never any choice,
if life was precious to me.
This is where you have always gone.

Laid out neatly, you almost
form the shape of a person,
but not quite. You are lying
in state, like parts of a Viking.

I will not provide a horse
for you, and as for the other,
you have burned enough of
us in your time already.

I think, seeing you like this,
that I will not need the
matches after all. I stand
back away from you

(always the safest distance)
and breathe again, and
smile, and then there it is
screaming into the sky.

I watch you burn, as though
each spark flying is a piece
of my pain, of my disgust,
of my misbegotten shame.

I watch you burn and
it is over so quickly, after
all. That first, furious rush
of fire carried you away in

an instant. You are not as
strong as I thought,
not like this.


Virginia Luella is a former cook, opera singer, exotic dancer, and tarot card reader who now works as a tech writer for a forensic engineering firm. Her writing is focused on communicating the experiences of marginalized people, such as those with disabilities, sex workers, and those who have experienced sexual assault and abuse.