"Phoenix" - Michael Garretson

They say twilight is the leftover light of day rebounding around the reflective molecules of atmosphere after the topmost sliver of the sun loses its grip on the horizon.

Slowly dying, alone
she waits
in her broken-down home,
body beaten to the bone.
lost unto the world,
like a shadow
so when she sits in corners,
she fits right in.
Existing through life
as though solitary confinement
were the sentence
for those on the lost pages of Death’s hit list.

Every nightfall
brings another date with Torture
who devises dreams
wrought with visions so horrible
that she wretches and trembles,
raises hell on bedsprings
as she gyrates to the rhythmic rape of her mind.
She cannot even remember
the last time the first light of sunrise
did not shimmer across tears on her pillowcase.

As night falls,
she lays down for nocturnal unrest,
visions of phantom firestorms fall into her head:
her blood starts to boil,
her insides start seething,
tears gush down her face
like her ducts are cut wide open, bleeding
pupils dilate, screaming
her eyes are crying
but her soul is weeping,
unaware that next day’s solstice would bring solace unbound.

Outside, lightning strikes,
sparking flames that gleefully crawl
across bed sheets, bodies, floorboards, halls,
devouring all.
She couldn’t help but smile
as her ceilings collapsed
a smoldering tomb of 2 by 4s
lands and traps like a coffin cover.
Mentally entrenched in the hell of agony,
she rejoiced because she knew
that the stinging smell of her burning polyester pajamas
and the rising of blisters like boiling water on her skin
meant Death was finally walking up those burning stairs.

A red sunrise in the morning
shed light on little more than
a blackened chimney and
a pile of ashes forlorn.
But from the ashes a new angel was born.
For God’s hand had parted the skies,
caressed the ashes with his fingers, so
like a phoenix she could rise
on plume wings she flies
to divinely dances across the sky
…for miles.
With six decades of unharnessed love pulling at her reigns,
she forever chases the sun over the horizon
so she never again
has to bear witness
to Darkness consuming
the last, lingering remnants of light
leftover in the sky.

Michael is a Spanish and International Studies major who wants to win the lottery so he can skip work and turn over every rock the world has to offer. He drinks too much tea and rides a dragon every time he picks up a pen.