He came to me on a morning that felt like the night I realized his heart was no longer beating. My body was weak, my heart was too heavy to lift, and the scent of collapse was smothered upon my face. He spoke: “It gets dark so you can see the fire burn more clearly. Throw all of you in.”
Into the fire I put a habit of sadness I was married to. I put in my own singular and true sadness, but not so it would be obliterated, rather transmuted, because I wanted to honor the utility of my delusions, the lies that made for density so that I could see the fire burn more clearly.
I gave it all in, contracts, amulets, and cuffs. And then my every day body began to wretch and heave. We were down to the bile, my body and I. Even then, I tried to type out a plan for the future. Philip put his hand on my back, like spirits do. “The only place you can be is here,” he whispered. “Now, ‘all you can do’ is what it means to ‘give it your all.'”
That comforted me as I wretched and I heaved to the final, final, final. “That’s all of me,” I spoke clearly, hoping it was true. I didn’t need to tell him.
“In you go,” he gestured me to the flames with his gaze. It was a direction, not a command.
I might die like this, empty, I thought. I wasn’t willing for it to end that way, but I saw the choiceless-ness. Empty, after all.
I jumped. I could have crawled, I could have reconsidered and delayed my future once again, but I found what I needed in my truth and I jumped.
I let every single flame touch me all over. The fire saw who I was, and was not out to kill me, instead it was working for me, in service. The fire clarified me to my bones of tensile, pulsating, fibre. Breath of all atmospheres. Breasts of nectar. A sea of diamond eyes. And from my root to crown my desires rose with timeless pleasure. Fulfilled.
I looked around and down. The heads of pain were rolling. Their skulls formed a circle around the fire pit like perfect rocks. The ground soaked up the blood and up sprang very rare flowers that made me swoon and glisten.
“So I guess this is what you mean by Fierce Love?” I said to him. We laughed like certain souls laugh, him and me. His spirit rumbled as it has never before.
And with my faith in the dawn, death by my side and my respect of the dark, we decided to spend the night to watch the fire burn more clearly.
As he jumped into my fire, I saw another ghost of my past grab his hand. Past death do us part.
With Sparks O' Light
WRITTEN, MODELED, PHOTOGRAPHED AND EDITED BY: STEPHANIE RACHEL GUTTENPLAN