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the fire keeps her
from proper focus
it is always near
on the horizon
in the peripheral
the flames meet her in her dreams
stealing sleep

burning it’s way up her throat
forcing the moisture out of her
to the top layer of skin

the elders are prepared
they wrap her in sage
they dance and chant
the burn
is honor
the fire
is praised

she is sure she hears her ancestors
not fully awake
the fire keeps her

four hundred and ninety eight full moons have passed
there are two fulls moon to go
before she is taken

the fire grabs her ankles
burns in her back
she jumps awake

she opens her eyes
her eldest mother touches her head
familiar kisses
safe whispers
cool fingers

her sweat drips from her skin

“breathe.” the ancient voice commands

“it’s too much.”

“you will rise with the sun. the sun is all fire and so shall you be. it is not too much for you. two full moons to go. you will be ready. keep your breath, child.”

photo credit: lisa louderback. creative commons.