Complaint of the Phoenix

Complaint of the Phoenix
Originally appeared in Linebreak

Another house fire. Another ruined suit.
Another pile of ash. Another day ending in
combustion instead of sleep. Another unholy

smoke alarm clang and sprinklers
opening their emotional eyes, bursting
tears as if I could care for anything

except destruction. Another symbol of
renewal. Another damage deposit I won’t
be getting back. Another taste of sulfur,

rotten eggs blossoming on the tongue
like dying stars. Another suit of feathers
I’ve outgrown. Another flammable

moment excited by its own gasoline
and drunk on its power to vanquish. Fuel
for the bed, another resignation from this

torture of form, a blessing in the lionlike
roar of fire like hunger’s call. Another
contract shredding into bits — my body

and me, the bursting forth of the only
part of me that cannot burn: my will to live
tossing a book of matches over my shoulder

as I leave the husk of my body behind
like a locust plugging its transparent skin
into the bark of a tree. The acrid scent

of burning in the nose. Another reconstruction.
Another first page. Another story beginning
with pain and ending with another kind of pain.

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