Memories Afire

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.

memories afire
consume tales lost to winter
and rebirth a heart

.
inspired by “Fear”,
winner of the tenth Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun
and linked to dVerse (Open Link Night)

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“Enfuego”, by Timothy Richard Lavelle
via

Forgiveness and Memory

Leaving her here (with him… alone) makes my heart choke in the pumping of its own blood. But neither instinct nor logic can bring moonlight into eyes that have been shut.

She’s shaking. Not with dread (as she should), but with hope-filled pleasure fed by what lies behind the flash of his sharp teeth. A storm of stillborn action, dammed by my promise to her, thunders behind my eyeballs, threatening to flood the place with reasons why she should run.

Watching his paw possess the small of her back, I yearn for dark woods, for a cottage, and an ax. He presses his snout to her cheekbone. Not the one shadowed by purplish oozing towards green, but the one that sits under unmarred flesh… the one that’s yet to meet his love’s knuckled kiss.

I drop her running-from-his-hell bag at the threshold.

She detangles her body (but not her Self) from him, and walks to the door to hug me goodbye. “Change that face,” she whispers. “I’ve forgiven his mistake.”

I hug her tight against my chest, wanting to hide her cheekbones under my rib cage. With her fragility so close to my despair, I can’t stop the storm from gently thundering into her hair. “Forgiveness is best served with a side order of memory.”

the bright of the moon
casting shadows in winter,
shrouds man-made ruins

.
inspired by “Forgiveness”,
winner of the ninth Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun
and linked to dVerse (Haibun Monday, 9)

Gaijin Geisha, by Shelle Kennedy“Gaijin Geisha”, by Shelle Kennedy
(The first time I saw this painting, I wondered about what thoughts could have put that look on the geisha’s face… I guess now I know.)