Start with a letter,
one that you unfold very gently,
one that is falling apart at the creases,
or about to. Read the faint words
slowly, one by one, as if you can’t quite
make them out. Change them,
embellish the faded prose, turn it into something
sweeter. Pull the stinger from the bee;
eat the honey.
Now you can burn it.
Feel the heat on your face as you feed it to the flame,
the tickle of sweat on your skin, a trail
from your forehead
to the dip between your nose
and the scar on your lip.
In the morning, don’t forget the ashes.
Scoop them up with the awkward iron shovel.
Fill a paper bag with the tiny
dissolving pieces, fold it
into a sort of lumpy envelope.
And don’t forget to seal it all
with long snakes of scotch tape
like a package mailed by a child,
sloppy and askew.
Be the person now
who does not love anyone at all,
least of all your own soggy self.
Be like the silky smoke that curls
and invades everyone’s lungs
making them cough and blink
and wave their hands in front of their faces,
no matter how much they crave the heat