Firebird – Audra Burwell

Only in that sunless realm between asleep and awake
Will I find you, the shell of my former self, crumpled and
Lifeless, huddled in the darkest corner, two tattered wings
Sprouting from shriveled flesh, cracked and splintered
Like the decaying skin of a porcelain doll left forgotten.

I watch as you gracefully unfurl those battered wings, one
At a time, notes of dust cascading from the infinitesimal
Hairs lining their moth-eaten surface. A network of veins
Traverses them, like lightning shattered across the skin,
Electricity pooling in the beds of your nails, bitter and acrid.

Sparks emit from your wingtips, lighting up the room in a
Shower of white and blue flame, molten as it glides over
The ground, fingers of shimmering fire caressing your body
Like the ardent embrace of a lover, something you were
Cruelly deprived of in life, but have now mastered in death.

I watch as you begin to levitate, toes brushing the rotten floor.
You climb higher and higher, an incandescent glow forming
In your core, radiating outward, a magnetic ball of flame bracing
For eruption, as you are bathed in rebirth, rising from the ashes
Like a phoenix, the fabled firebird obscured by myth and legend.

An inferno dances in your eyes, two mirrors of the soul, sheathed
In broken glass, a reflection of myself staring back, as I feel the
Jagged and seeping chasm in my chest stitch itself closed, the
Needle guided by your hand, the thread spilling forth from your
Mouth, as we slowly merge, the past mending with the present.

Audra Burwell is a creative writing major with a strong emphasis on fantasy-themed poetry and fiction that covers universal subject matter. Her work has been published by Palaver Journal, Deep Overstock, Carcinogenic Poetry, Serpentine Zine Literary Magazine, and Superpresent Magazine, as well as appearing on the DO Fiction Podcast. She studies at California State University Fresno where she is aiming for a Master of Fine Arts degree. She is currently employed by Fresno State’s Kremen Department as a Communications Assistant.

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