Girl on Fire

The girl was a singularity of heat
A supernova at the center of her body.
She writhed in pain like a snake run over,
fought like some prehistoric animal
Made sounds like mud bubbling to the surface of thermals- burping and hissing,
molten lava at her core.
She tried to escape the heat, but how could she?

Inflammation, was its name,
And that’s all she was.
An inflamed teenager,
Angry and hysterical
Screaming like a banshee,
Running from person to person yelling, “I’m on fire! I’m on fire! Somebody help me!”


She fought with all her might, kicking and screaming,
But nothing was substantial enough to kick against.
Like an infant in a onesie, kicking tragically at thin air,
nothing was solid enough to withstand the desperation of her thrusts.


Someone’s hand reached out to console her,
It was too delicate a touch.
She could have squeezed the life out of it,
Like King Kong’s fist around a daisy.
She wanted to subject that touch to the sheer inferno of her pain,
To the immensity of adrenaline that coursed through her veins, that she didn’t know what to do with.
She could have torn the skin to shreds,
And still, they would not understand her pain to her satisfaction


She could have ripped off all her own flesh,
Obliterating even her own skeleton,
And still,
She would not have been able to rid herself of this unbearable feeling at the center of her being.
She could have run mad and screaming in to the woods,
Naked with wild hair,
And no distance would have been enough to get away from it.


What is left? What is left to do to eradicate this pain?
The pain that keeps her tossing and turning at night,
With restless leg syndrome, and no peace?
This unsettledness that carries her up like a hot air balloon,
While she strains powerless and aching to feel the ground?


She fought
Didn’t want to see.
Thought “if only….”
If only this one thing, if only the next…
Then I’ll be ready to feel this.
Just another drink, just let me switch positions first.
“Oh! I have to pee…”
“If only I have someone with me….”
She tried every maneuver to get away from the inescapable fate that awaited her there.
“…just some water wings…” she thought. “Okay, I’m gonna take a deep breath and then do it.”
“If only I intellectualize first so I understand it…”
“I’m gonna think about it for a little while…”
But there, it waited for her.
She struggled and struggled against it and it remained before her,
The inevitable.


Everyone instructed her to “be with it.”
“You don’t understand!!!” she wanted to yell…. Not this…. This is TOO big!
I can understand having to sit with it, but you don’t know HOW BAD THIS IS!!!
Shaking her head, hair flailing
“No no no…. no no no no no…..”
Trapped, in an encroaching cocoon
Nowhere to run, nothing to do…


In the deafening quiet of that meditation hall,
In the crucible made all the hotter by the prohibitions of that orthodox place,
everyone contained with equanimous faces,
She longs to throw herself in the center,
to pierce through the silence with a shrill shriek of agony,
to shatter the atmosphere to pieces, clashing down.
To roll over on her back and recklessly abandon herself to the unintelligibility
of her insides.
She knows she shouldn’t disturb others,
And yet, she longs to open herself… to dump her contents out amidst the larger surface area of the circle,
to spread it amidst others, 
Anything to displace the burden of the intolerable.
“How am I ever going to be able to develop the presence to sit with this?” she wonders…


Inflammation, inflammation,
Her shit is strewn all over the place, for all the world to see.
The byproduct of a train wreck, and a girl that can’t hold it all.
The diarrhea of her unconsummated shadow splattered all over the walls.
She is embarrassed, trying to hide it.
trying so hard to be a mature grown up like everybody else, to pull it together and work passed her shitstorm.
She recites the doctrine inside her head
Like a matron in a boarding school,
buttoned up and severe.
Its message trickling down to her body,
arresting her muscles, and hardening her,
Impossible standards.
She feels the self-violence.


But deep inside, a softer voice speaks, “Please don’t judge me,”
And the wise woman inside her knows she needs a place where she can fall apart.
Where her shit splatter can be all over the walls,
Where she can just be exactly where she is, and someone will love her.


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