stacks of papers are thrown onto logs damp with mildew
a fire starts but,
the flames take too long to leap upon my pile of mistakes
I am forced to stare down the red numbers.
2/10, 5/10, 9/10
you’ve failed, do better in the future, nice try
I fall back down that dark helix of anxiety
the world spins,
my heart beats against its ivory cage-
but the crackling of fire brings me back
my papers are crumpling, curling in on themselves
forming delicate rose petals of ash
a rose of my mistakes
they grow hot and red,
and then they cool
a wind plucks petal after petal then sets them adrift
and my guilt along with them