Isabella

My eyes burn before
my feet do, wrists
bound behind me to
a pole. What have I
done wrong? My nose
runs, I shift my
right foot away from
the smoldering stack.
My back aches. Someone
save me. Save me. Kill
me now. A flame pulls
itself out of the mound.
Another. I feel fevered.
I shift my weight again,
but my lungs ache. I pull
at the rope on my wrists.
Raw. Keep pulling. The fire
growls toward the sky, hissing
with flame teeth, gnashing like
a rabid dog. My heart is a rabbit.
Cornered. What have I done wrong? I
squeeze the pole against my spine, pull
down with my arms, wiggle and stretch upward,
away. I move half as far as a first year cone,
fall down into the blaze. It needs me. It needs
me. My toenails blacken. I scream until my throat
is as raw as my wrists. I smell cooked meat. It’s me.
I know. My calf ruptures. I hear it before I feel it. What
have I done wrong? I don’t forgive you. You cannot be absolved.
Carry me with you. Watch my lashes burn. Save me. Save me. Save me.

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