Author | Victoria Siu
Would you know how flames feel
coursing rapids through disembodied fingertips
onto shoulders they cling for dear life
those viral burns escaping from the holes of my palms in feathery plumage
they grow and never die, awakening
spiny nerves that split skin (or wish) about creation and destruction
nerves on paper, eyes, nose, in chest?
I wonder if you knew, ad coda, these were
the flames I welcomed, touch caving to fluid
sanguine and yellow notes, warming flavors brightly beating
against my searching voice and maybe yours too
but I couldn’t hear you until
I set myself on fire with the silver lighter
freedom was truly beautiful in the wings of a mythological bird
until I saw beak, ash and fingers blackening like cigarette butts,
skin and body parts dissolving in acrid rivers of heat.
And I wasn’t ready.
The flames bloomed and erupted
in frenzied spring, burning all the shoulders alive.
Maybe the stench of conflagrant flesh was too strong
and you read my mind.
Can I ask why you still came near me?
Pieces of your skin and hair sparked into flames with every step
toward the epicenter of my self-induced inferno.
Knees knelt as you hunched over to cradle a burnt creation.
Crimson and all intersection of red and yellow enveloping an unwavering frame
as you put out my flames, sealed burns and washed away the charcoal.
I think you knew
how flames felt.
About the Author | Victoria Siu is a current sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior and minoring in Creative Writing. As a former Lab Assistant in Abramson Research Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Siu hopes to interweave her passion in research with her passion for writing. She is currently the Design Editor for Penn’s research journal, Synapse. Previously she was the Editor in Chief of her high school Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Award winning literary magazine, Itinerary. Siu has also organized and taught creative writing workshop at Nathan Adams Elementary in Dallas, TX. Her writing has also been recognized by Creative Communications as a semifinalist in their summer contest edition. Siu is an avid fan of Hayao Miyazaki and loves listening to Michael Jackson.