Hands

softer than butterflies, and yet

strong; gentle enough

to brush the dust and ashes

from crumbling candles and crowns.

Castle walls are not as strong as I thought.

 

Soot

blacker than the night sky, smelling of

engine exhaust and cigarettes, my eyes burning

with tears.

Is it just me,

or does the white, burnt wood

make the air seem colder?

 

Smoke

laces the fabric of our clothing, into every

seam and rip that escapes our eyes;

weaving through hair and layers

of skin. Thin flags

hang loosely in the dirt.

 

Flames

that were once there

were kindled with a flickering hope

that nothing else could match.

For a long time we forgot

how to fall.

What made us remember?

 

Clouds

of smoke and sorrow

settle in my view, but they do not

blur it. There is only

a fluttering candle, but among

the clouds I can still see

castles.

 

Memory

is triggered by scent, and I welcome it.

When I smell the cracking cedar,

I will remember

our determination to rebuild,

restore,

and renew.

A new fire calls us.

 

Roads

behind, the world ahead.

But no matter how far we travel,

we will carry this kingly scent of smoke—

a constant reminder of what has been

and what we will take with us.

 

Castles

will be built from these ashes,

stronger and firmer than before.

We will take the charred concrete of what used to be,

and ignite a new ember

with old matches.

After all, they never lost their spark.

 

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