He brings the stack of letters to his nose. The words stink of gun oil, sweat and loss. For the third time, he lets his eyes linger over the emptiness overflowing her side of their closet. There is little of her left… only dry letters, confused memories, and a twisted hanger next to his service uniform.
“We’re ready for you,” his sister says from the door. “Rid your mind of rancid thoughts. True cleansing must start deep within.” She walks to where he stands, and touches his face—gun oil, sweat and loss are overtaken by frankincense, patchouli, and a smile. “You’ll be whole again.”
He watches the joy in her eyes reach for the sorrow in his heart, and he wonders if sisterly love can really be that strong or that blind. Can’t she see his dead bones under nearly decayed flesh?
They walk hand in hand towards the open door. And like with the womb, his sister steps out first. She guides him into a circle of women dressed in crimson and veiled in black, chanting around the dancing flames of a bonfire. Without speaking, she kisses his cheek before joining the chant.
He doesn’t know if he believes in magic, but his sister does. “And I believe in her,” he whispers, throwing the letters, one by one, into the fire. As his ex-wife’s words are unwritten into ashes, he visualizes unwanted feelings fading away with the smoke, and feels his bones breathe anew.
consume tales lost to winter
and rebirth a heart
a wee note: the eleventh Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun won’t be posted until the first week of May, after the conclusion of Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month, 2016.
“Enfuego”, by Timothy Richard Lavelle