Written for Trifecta.
He quaffed every word they spoke like soda pop. Their wrath as toxic as pesticides, their approval sweeter than the gooey center of a roasted marshmallow.
Mother, where are you? The sky is falling and you must prop it up with your elbows.
A tree quivered as flames licked his eyeballs and charred flesh nestled into smoke. The wall, where he’d kept score of the tears in his heart, blackened.
Without his sorrows, now erased by the combustion of hell, the shackles of fear melted away, and he knew that the screams came not from him but through him.
And so he closed his lips and all was still save the echo of crackling decay. The pain, not his to bear, belonged to the underworld, out of which he rose like the phoenix from the ashes.
Time collapsed, past into future and loss into gain. A miracle. The sky didn’t fall, it opened, and a mystical siphon swallowed the inferno like a child drinking through a straw.
A spiral staircase unfolded, and as he climbed, he shed his smoldering skin. He flew in a pearl chariot between the galaxies. He danced like a nymph among the clouds. He journeyed to the center of the sun and feasted upon grace.
Until the moon whispered to him in the language of light, and blew him back to this planet. He returned as new as a raindrop, as free as the wind, as corporeal as the earth. His soul wiped clean, his old life nothing but a visitor on tempestuous nights.