Love Letter From A Fire To The One Who Started It
You never looked back at my light
except to tell me I wasn’t burning as bright
as you thought I should.
I’ve started taking to arson now as a way
of writing you into my life again, knowing
that it wasn’t the spark that kept you here
but the fuel that my flesh was singed,
the decay, the rot, the lies that gave
you power, knowing that you always
told me not to trust a burning man
as you bathed me in kerosene
Used to believe that cigarettes
were an homage to me, but I know it’s always on a bad day
that we like to pretend to be someone’s false idol,
and my friends tell me that forest fires are too
unnatural an explosion,
that flesh isn’t a natural explosion
even from 3000 miles away,
that it wasn’t that you wanted me to smile
sunflower seeds, but that you wanted me
to eat the sun when you were darkness,
that you never wanted to find me
in my own unlit nights, how
I was never visible in the dark.
You never looked back at my fires
even after they cauterized
the wounds on your back and
I stayed up past my bedtime
to sing you healthy
so when you asked me
what kind of bird you were
when I told you I was attracted
to bird people, it wasn’t my place to say
that it’s bird people that fly south
when things get too cold to keep
nests of scrap metal and used bandages;
I couldn’t offer you clean bandages.
I can’t offer myself clean bandages.
But you kept practicing not looking back
at explosions, even when it was my fires
even when we claimed
to carry each other’s torches.
They waited for you, even
when they went out.
Smoke signals in the dark always
looked like clouds to you.
You never looked back
after leaving our ground zero,
heard you say this place was
just another cemetery full of ghosts
pretending they were ever alive
for any reason but themselves.
The kindling in my hips
don’t shake embers anymore
and I don’t think fires remember
the trees they could’ve grown up to be.
My Grandfather’s Ghost-Parents Are The Elephant’s In The Room,
and we do not talk about,
I mean them,
anymore because to name
their ghosts would be to give it,
I mean, again, them, life
And that is no longer possible.
The appliances in the kitchen
have always been electric
so we don’t have to worry
about the smells: Rotting eggs
from faulty (wind) pipes,
two bodies baking
No one sleeps in the oven
Anymore. I am not allowed,
I mean, I can’t sleep in this house anymore.
Given, or was given, my great-grandfather’s dead
name, now my dead-name,
too big a haunting to live.
I walk into rooms odorless,
I am the natural gas that settled
into the seems of our genetics.
My body seeps into the carpet
The only one in my family to kill themselves
and still live.
They have a hard time breathing around me,
but everyone sleeps.
No one believes in my identity until it wakes them
up at night. They find my gender and put it
into the gas oven and leave
the light unlit.
Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD whose work focuses on narratives of gender, sexuality, and trauma. Their work is featured or forthcoming from Words Dance, great weather for Media, Black Heart Magazine, and elsewhere. Outside of poetry they are found deep beneath the soil, waiting to take root.