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.