Candles

I don’t want to blow out
the candles of your past lives.
I want to know, what about the fire
did a younger you find welcoming and tender?

What about these candles comes
into your body and mind
troubling you with shadows
and taking your focus elsewhere?

I do not wish to know the name
nor the case nor frame of time.
I wish only to know why one might
dwell upon a candlelight
which does not illuminate, only darkens.

Who singed your leaves, little flower?
Who told you roots only grow underground?
Who told you to look for miracles
where only ghosts are found?

O, gentle iris, you are not wrong to be afraid
I do not fault you for folding your petals away
You are not the only one.
I, too, fear the fire. I, too, fear pain.

But I am not a flower
nor lion, nor snail
I do not know when to turn away
nor do I want to.

I don’t want to blow out
the candles of your past lives.
I wish to melt them together with mine
‘round a wick of our braided legs.

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