Dead dry branch sends the blaze erupting
The air outside is cool enough to wear a jacket against the breeze
But step close to the towering flame and feel the skin of my arms
My face
Begin to cook like one would imagine a spit-roasted pig to feel


The faces across the way are obscured
Laughing as they warm their insides
Pouring bottles and cans and flasks down gullets
It feels good
Listen to the crack and disintegration of the tree limb as it becomes ash


Voices speak but it is all noise all smiling hushed tones
It is enough to be present and enjoy the encompassing heat
Near the light of the fire the night beyond
Is so dark
Enough to feel alone if I stare long and hard into the violent whipping


On the ground beneath my shoe lay a small rounded object
Eyeholes and elongated snout of a former mouse
Roll the tiny skull caked in dirt round my fingers until gently I let it fly
Into the flames
Wonder if I should have said something some incantation some solemn question
To the divines

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