Controlled Burn By: Alysia Harris Poem by Scott Sims

Controlled Burn By: Alysia Harris

You quit burning
Your eyes no longer reflect the flames.
You think you're done.
Afterall, you've wrung the gasoline from your hair.
You think you've survived.
Haven't your underclothes stopped smelling of smoke?

You wash the ashes from your face,
Dress in white, sweep the soot from your front door.
Avoid bonfires,
Avoid cigarettes,
Christmas lights,
Avoid microwaves and stovetops.
You know anything that might spark,
That might trigger what you can't control.

A forest fire stretches the forearm of the coast,
And empties its lungs into the sea.
You shake your head and shut your door,
Thinking there could never beanother fire to refine you.
So you sit in the dark, under the bleach of clean electricity
Because you're safe and you want to be safe.

There is no smoking you out of this comfortable hole.
You believe in fireproofing.
As if the issue was the fuse.
As if the issue was in you and your flammable little life,
Which catches so easily and
Exhausts all of the oxygen in the room.
Because god forbid this life be a witch trial.
Lover after lover who leaves you on the burner.
Body-a gauntlet of insese
Because God forbid you have to clear the air again.
Learn to walk again.
Look in the mirror and learn to love your scared face again.
After being singed because
Didn't you forgive and didn't you forget
And doesn't that make you exempt.
Baptism washes away the dirt from the past
But fire cleanses the future you cannot see.

Dear fire, reinvent me.
Make this soil good ground for a harvest.
The story of the phoenix might be a myth
And I might never rise again
But may this pain make me patient.
May this pain make me patient.
May this pain make me patient.
I am starting to learn.
I faced it once or twice before.
All I'm looking at now is controlled burn.

Friday, November 1, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: abuse
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