You have thirty minutes,
A duffel bag,
And just enough fire to see by.
In trying to salvage this house.
You’re old enough to understand that
And young enough to move
Ignore pictures, bed sheets, dried flowers, last letters.
Take nothing that has led to laughter and rot before,
Only another mile in the morning.
You need shoes, a lighter, and maps.
That cannot be recreated.
This is not about saving the necklace she gave you,
This is not about saving the one dress she called beautiful,
This is about a fire.
The raw cleanse of panic.
Take money, pen,
Pass the poems you’ve made for her and know that
There is nothing holy in prayers and promises
Are merely strained muscles.
Take a compass
But don’t worry about taking the fury.
Anger comes in seasons, and right now
It is a worm-infested, flame-licked apple
Ready to lead to a doubled-over back and a gnarled stomach.
Better to wait for your autumn, when it will be firm and ripe,
Willing to split between your teeth, run its juice down your chin.
For now, bread is enough.
There are creek beds waiting
And good witches in the woods
Who for the small price of one devil’s dance
Will feed you
And it will be sweet,
The stuff of houses their grandmothers’ grandmothers made
To lure lost children in.
Butter and brown sugar.
Carry a knife, a whistle,
And enough pain that it doesn’t slow you down,
Only reminds you of the smoke-clogged lungs behind you,
Why you left with no moon.
Let it be the ice in your palm,
Fresh lemon in your mouth.
A rock thrust against the arc of your foot,
Twenty extra pounds on your back.
The door may be a red mouth singing stay,
Hurling a roar of orange siren song but you
Are no sailor,
Are no lonely man,
You will not be dashed against the rocks in your own dying home so
Put your ear to the Earth, know there’s a long wolf’s run down her neck but
There is nothing sacred in the land that won’t keep you,
The house where roots have become kindling wood.
There is nothing brave in sacrificing yourself for an empty cause, an empty building, an empty heart,
These four walls will not keep you just as she would not have you,
And no one will sing praises in your name and your waiting,
This is not beautiful and you know that.
This is a fire and so this is you running,
And so this is you moving, on, and on,
Letting it become more like an ohm,
Every step one more tone drop drawing out, casting its verb and stance.
Steadying your stride and steadying your center.
Let your voice be the heaviest thing you carry.
You are running for, not from,
You are running for, not with.
Ciera Durden is a twenty-one year old graying college student. She primarily writes confessional poetry and is a member of the Word of Mouth spoken word group. Themes of her poetry include depression/death, rituals/magic, lesbianism, and feminism. For all her poetry, she does not know how to write a short bio and is self-conscious in her efforts. Thank you for tolerating them.