I sit by the campfire we made from fallen branches and discarded twigs
We watch the flames sway in the eastern breeze.
Smoke plumes rise and reach above us
blazing tongues lick the air and I am entranced–
temporarily absent from this flickering present

I silence myself mid-conversation– 
you continue speaking as shadows creep across your face.
Your voice thickens and the night air cradles your words
— soaked with life– still dripping wet, impossible to ignite a simple spark 

Western wildfires whisper to this makeshift pyre
sensing its urge to grow, to incinerate us both.
I will halt any attempt to extinguish it,
I will stand at its center and conjure the spirits of misunderstood women who came before me, 
I will not flinch when the flames lick their lips with each taste of my melting flesh. 

We will burn and turn to the ash that the wind pushes around the emptiness where the fire once warmed us.