Requiem: Incense and Fire

By Riley Bounds

Artwork by Alli Rowe

Sweltered incense and melody of fire,

Lead me bloodied up the funeral pyre

And lie in chains with me there.  Stay with me

And whisper comfort, burning bride to be.

Timber for the stately execution.

Spit on God for Jephthah’s restitution.

For all their piety – “Thou shalt not kill” –

We never could find home in the world’s will.

But I’m tired now, dear, and the sun is down,

So with promenade and cotillion round,

Set fire to bracken, fumigating smoke.

The day you left was the truest you spoke.

But dead men can dream, so let me have mine

And conjure you, empyreal dress divine,

Here, smiling as embers ignite the air,

Lit cracks, heated stone, fluttering your hair.

My eyes will melt, char as I immolate,

So take my hand and remind me of grace,

And as smoke of my skin touches the sky,

Kiss me, fragmenting; hum a lullaby.

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