Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down
I say the word charcoal, and it sounds like grief.
I say grief, and suddenly a piece of charcoal
appears in my hand, cold like marble and skinny
like the bones of a finger. As I hold it in my palm,
I think about destruction, of the metallic taste
of death, of this world and the end of it. I look
down at the charcoal balanced in my hand. I
remember that charcoal can be broken easily
like a promise made in autumn, so I make a fist
and squeeze. I open my hand, coated with black
and sprinkled with shards of charcoal. I repeat
the word charcoal, and it sounds like the night
my insides were painted the black color of pain.
You remember. Humans become ashes far too
quickly. I said, Tell me I am not in pieces, and I’ll
believe you. I’m sorry I said that. Sorry I said a
lot of things. But especially that. We are all
trying to repair something. I curse this leaking
heart of mine, more holes than muscle, but it
floods my words. Sometimes wreckage is
beautiful. This is not one of those times.
By Meg Boyles
Meg Boyles was raised in Ridgeland, Mississippi and is a junior at Hendrix College, studying creative writing and literature. Her poems can most recently be found in The Aonian.