The first time I burned,
I awoke in the ashes of a boy’s pothead promises
and climbed out of his ashtray a sooted mess,
weak willed and skittish
from his hard hands
and cold heart.
The second time I burned,
I heard my grandfather’s death from an ocean away
and this new man-child laughed
at my loss, my tears, my heartache.
I branded vengeance across his entire life
before soaring out of it.
The next time I burned,
the sharp heat tore through me without warning,
long before my time came due. I awoke
to gasoline fumes on my womb as he struck a match,
his betrayal turning my body into
an unquenchable furnace
and my will to smother the flames
And yet, again, I rose.
I rebirthed myself from the ashes
that others mistook for cremation,
for death and destruction and ending,
and I flared back to life
not to spite them,
the ignition switches and
matchbox strikers and
content to watch me burn and
I came back
because it is my way.
A phoenix never dies,
we burn and rise.