Penance

When they skinned me alive,
I was afraid, very afraid.
For I knew my crimes were not merely skin-deep.
And when they pelted me with stones,
A chill crept into my heart.
For I knew I could not atone my sins with broken bones.
But when they reached deep inside
And pulled out that one tiny shard to crush,
A sliver of hope, that sustained my life,
I gave a weak laugh, giddy with relief.
For there could be no more;
The Lords of Karma had crossed that line.
There would be no more punishment
Without violating the very laws that they held so sacred.
I reached out and took it back;
That tiny shard of an already broken whole.
“No more punishment”, I repeated to myself,
A statement and a promise at the same time,
For I had reached, at last, the end of my penance.

Phoenix

Photo by Alex Wigan

The spark of smiles

And innocent longings

Turned to a flame;

Deep red and pure,

Of passion and warmth, hopes and dreams.

 

As she watched the flame turn to harsh fire

That threatened to cremate the very love

Which it was built from,

Panic washed over her,

And she stood paralyzed,

Forced to watch the destruction all night.

 

The fire had burned without restrictions

And brought to light all good and bad.

She now surveyed the landscape of the hearts

Where residue flames still burned around;

Bright stars in ebony dark.

The venom had flowed out due to heat;

In rivulets of poisonous green. And the love?

 

The memory of the pure, red flame

Danced in front of her eyes

And she saw the light igniting far off,

As crimson sun broke the night.

Gaining strength from warming rays

She promised aloud to burn just as bright

And sent her word to the fiery being

With messengers of both lands still stirring;

Phoenixes, after all, are reborn from the ashes.

One Step Up

Photo by Gabriel Santiago

There I was,

In the very depths;

I had hit, as they say,

Rock bottom.

 

It took so much time

To barely regain focus,

To prop myself up

On elbows, if not feet.

 

Miles below the surface,

I was surrounded by darkness.

The shadows hid horrors

Of past and future.

 

It took so much time

To slow down my breathing

And take a look around

Assessing my life.

 

I chose a jagged rock,

And took one step up.

The darkness was the same

Was a step really enough?

 

I curled up into myself

Losing all motivation.

It took so much time

To ignite a little fire.

 

With the flame of hope,

I took one step up.

Step after step I put.

Perhaps it was possible to reach out.

 

The flame burnt brighter

And then there was nothing.

For rocks had fallen suddenly

And I was back on the floor.

 

A rock had settled on my chest

The flame had flickered down to nothing.

It took so much time

To accept the fall again.

 

With the rock implanted in my heart

But the fire reignited,

I merged pain with hope

And took one step up, towards the sun.