"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Burnt

They want us on fire, emboldened, empowered, burned at the stake; sparkling embers so fierce and fraught with peril. We are glorious in our explosions--’don’t touch us,’ ‘don’t call us,’ fight back with acrylic claws and stilettoed shivs. Wield your eyeliner like a sword, let your wings carry you home and still you persist, in body glitter and a crop top. Hold your head high, an ethically sourced tiara we melded ourselves in the hot takes of Twitter. “My body, my choice; everyone go register to vote.” There is fire in my veins and I shake as I scroll, another speech, another rally, another battleground race with a warrior’s cry. I am radicalized and I take them down with me; the boys who never had to worry about walking home alone but escorted me to my car, the ones who send concerned messages after the hearings to make sure I am alright. I am a glorious burst of righteous fury. Build me up on a pyre of the women who came before me and pour red-headed sluts on my kindling, light me with cranberry vodkas from the sparks of Tinder, each unsolicited dick pic cauterized in my silence and his sudden shame. My wrath is real and I want it to reign, down until they are ruined, I am at peace, me too.

I am made to be glorious, each curve, every surface flaw intentional, beauty in my gender burnished pure. I want him to hold me but I am too much to handle; our cuddles leave angry red marks on his skin. The engines are running too hot. I am too much at once, but rather than imploding within me it only wounds him. Nothing rises from the ashes, when it is over there is nothing I can claim. His heart is his own and it must belong to him. When I am melted I will have lost my flame. I would have molded myself to what he wanted if I knew how, but I am destruction, I only know how to cause him white-hot, burning pain. My love only glows brightly for the women I warm at my flames. I am the fire of the offerings we leave her; the gifts of beauty and wisdom and love were not meant for me. When he wants to come in from the cold and warm himself by the fire I will have burned out, in loving ourselves I have nothing left to give. 


Anna Kaye-Rogers has been published in Illinois Valley Community College River Currents, The Feminine Collective, and many others. Facebook: Anna Kaye Rogers

Cover photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

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