Life on Fire

A burning log
weeps—
crumbling and
flayed like a
breastbone
unfurling its ribs.
It shrieks in pain,
hissing and cracking;
we are one and the same.

Something had to die to
keep us warm.
Something is dying still:
my kindling heart
flaking and grey,
my stomach a
tinderbox.
There is a worry
there, palming
a pack of
matches.

I am at its edge,
watching as my embers
cool,
reminded of
a life on fire.
Nothing burns forever.
I am collecting smoke
and you will
smell it in my hair
tomorrow.

G. Mitchell Layton is a writer and touring musician living in Los Angeles. His works have been published in Pif Magazine, HM Magazine, Catholic Digest, Surviving the Golden Age, Glassworks, and others. In his spare time, Mitchell likes painting, watching Twin Peaks, and fending off bouts of existential crises.

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2 Responses to Life on Fire

  1. Julia says:

    This poem struck a chord. Engulfing…

  2. Love this. “Nothing burns forever” is such a deep and haunting line.

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