Born into flame, the Phoenix laments
its heated rush towards metamorphosis.
Skin ruptures, sloughs off and flares briefly,
shedding ash and dreams. Freedom dies
with your smile and I find myself colder —
wishing to stand beside you. Always.
A betrayal of wings, as yet unfurled.
Overhead the cross hangs low, mercurial;
fickle as a lover’s embrace. The yearning heart,
released, takes flight. Framed in that introspective light
I see you hurtling forward — a stellar memory
of lost radiance and I wish to tell you:
it’s the novas that define us.
– Ryan Stone
On his first visit
we sat silent for a time
before he asked if all things go to heaven.
I told him good people go to heaven
and his mother had been good.
The next time
he asked right away
how his mother flew to heaven
I said that angels lift us up
when we cannot fly.
Our last visit was short.
His mother liked butterflies
so he’d sent her a few, he told me.
First he ripped off their wings —
unneeded things — then burned them
like he’d seen his dad do.
Slipping her shackles
she launched into the abyss;
virgin wings unfurled.