Were you to fire

or embers born?

Did you rage

and spit in youth

and expire, too early,

when I came?

Did you choke

yourself in some

nightshade room?

Were the windows

shut – all breath –

given for me?

In the flicking orange lapping licks,

baby birds, open-throated,

fed on your breath, dimming your flame.

Tired tendrils stretched upwards

round twig sap and log dust,

till hunks of coal turned seated and fed,

to backlit rocks

The blackened

ancestors feasted again.

The dead always

demand their new.

Your embers still burn

but are buried in grey.

How long have I

got till ember?

Can I help you remember

your split heart,

your amber youth.

And you might say,

It’s time to give up the rage –

let someone new write their page.

Some live as pages

never to be burnt

and some live as pages

to feed the familial flame.

Let me blow my gentle breath on you as you fade.