The fire 
Makes its way into me, like a home 
The angel of such small hours 
Sitting beside my bed 
His black hole head 
Telling me to moan 
My fate he says 
Is the fate of liver, growing 
Growing, grown 
That must be excised from the flesh 

Saint Joan, you’ll burn, 
He says. 
And bleed not brown but red 
From the hole I’ll make inside your chest 
Your bed sheets covered in the mud 
That this sick angel left 
Miss Joan will you cry with me 
And Charon bow, and give your legs 
To watch living walk about? 

Oh, Saint Joan, do you think of me, too? 
The little girl who hides in corners 
Of empty rooms? 
Saint Joan 
My mother cries 
At night, 
Like babies do 
And wonders why I was born me, but never you 

The fire makes its way into my bones 
And lights a match 
To watch it drop 
Onto such black coals 
Burn it break it let it flow 
But Saint Joan cries, she begs, she groans 
She always knows exactly what I know 
That peeling flesh follows 
Where the fire grows 

Our hands cross over 
Inside the wound where 
The liver goes 
To clutch with her what still must grow
My silly girl, she says 
Did you not know? The angel is dead. 
And yet the fire still bleeds brown 
But never red.

— Jessie Lifton is a writer and college student living in Chicago. She has additional writing on her blog.  

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