19 October 2009

Oxidation

Candle flames dot the bookshelves and dresser tops, swaying golden cypress trees in a miniature graveyard. They burn bright and steady.

In an empty apartment with no drafts the flames stand tall and slim. Nothing disturbs their radiant beauty, except the silent passage of the sole occupant from room to room. The occupant may think himself a ghost, but the wavering of the flames belies his corporeality. The ghost sinks into the couch cushions while his hands run over a face temporarily forsaken by love. Red-rimmed eyes peer out from under sodden lids in a torpid effort to focus on the candles flanking the television across the room; the television sat blankly absorbing light and thought into the satiny black surface of the screen. It offered no counsel of its own.

The small suite of rooms seems a compact necropolis, bereft of life with a silence broken only by the breathy whirr of traffic. The glossy black sarcophagus of the refrigerator offered counterpoint, intermittently humming as if to announce the interred remains of yesterday’s leftovers. The ghost blinks slowly, mesmerized by the languid dance of light. The eyes of the ghost widen as he recognizes the emotion worming its way into his freezing heart.

He is jealous.

Jealous of the flame, gritting his ethereal teeth, near to weeping to know that the flame has purpose which it executes without doubt, regret or failing nerve. The ghost sets aside his glass and wipes his eyes, a moment too late to stop the brine of loss from spilling down his cheeks. The flames diffract and sparkle across retinas become prisms swallowed by waves.

The ghost wraps trembling arms over aching ribs with a deep sigh. Watching the pale gold dancer, he remembers when his heart burned bright and pure, enraptured by the runaway oxidation of the soul.

He remembers, and envies the votive its place on the shelf.

12 comments:

  1. I've never thought of a sarcophagus as a refrigerator before.

    On the other hand, my sarcophagus does keep my lager cans really cold so it makes complete sense.

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  2. The light of day brings a new perspective.

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  3. As you were mesmerized by the flame of the candle, I was mesmerized by your writing. Haunting and sad.

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  4. The flame of the candle is beautiful, no doubt. But it is weak. It is easily snuffed out by a thumb and forefinger pinch while the flame within the Ghost burns on.

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  5. The candle flame dances low and alone now but remember that where there is one flame another will eventually grow and join the first making the soul bright and warm once again.

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  6. Ok, you know I think your writing is fantastic, so I'm going to jump ahead and ask you what kind of wine you were drinking in the tub with your Danielle Steele and scented candels?

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  7. this reminds me, in a very good way, of my favorite adrienne rich poem Song...the last stanza of which reads,

    If I'm lonely
    it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
    in the last red light of the year
    that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
    ice nor mud nor winter light
    but wood, with a gift for burning.

    I know the ghost wishes it could feel the scorching heat, if only for a moment.

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  8. Trust that the flame inside you will burn brightly again...and also that the fridge is not King Tut.

    You are totally awesome and I could see every word you wrote.

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  9. I think that the Ghost will burn bright again. This too shall pass.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."


-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...