Sulphur Flame

He can't remember what she wore that night, or her name

But he can retrace every step he climbed to where he knew she waited,

The stipples on the cool iron rails sliding through his hand on that warm summer eve

No hint of sweat in his palms as he approached, relaxed, calm, sensing rising tension


He stopped, almost at the top of the steps

There she stood, his invocation, his invitation, his initiation

Her face showed no fear; he thought he sensed a warm welcome in her eyes,

Enticing moonbeams illuminating her midnight skin, shaded against a serene night sky painted with stars


She held out her hand, reached for his, pulling him gently toward her, and up

If, today, in a court of law, he was to be asked for evidence of his innocence,

He could point to his palms and the invisible stigmata she placed there,

A scar for none to see, only he to feel, an eternal sulphur flame on molten skin

Blind to their ignorance, he’d close his hands and eyes and quietly smile inside


The smell of her breath has long since evaporated from the mists of his mind

Gone too any words she may have spoken, lost on the breeze of time

The only sounds still echoing within his ears, the urges and cheers of the crowd

Excited, they waited, anticipating his ascension and capitulation to the test

The weight of the gauntlet they laid down, still beats in his chest


The warm summer air licked his legs and naked arms, his senses magnified like no time before

He cast off doubt like a snake shedding old skin and made his final approach

The challenge would be met, he would take his prize, she would acquiesce

Forbearance was futile, destiny calling them to this moment – they coalesced


He reached around the back of her unwavering head

Tight, dry raven like curls filled his cupped hand, spiders wriggled through his fingers Her yet to blossom womanhood met the place where his chest would grow

Their eyes met and closed, her lips offered no resistance, no clamped refusal

Virginal lips met lips, skins tingled, and toes raised – the embrace filled his life


Sometimes she and that night visit him like a ghost dancing through fog

Partners entwined, swaying through the ballrooms of his memory,

The tune they waltz to, leading them in treasured steps, ballets of bliss

He will forget many things over his life, but not the sacred memory of being seven, at the top of a slide, and his very first kiss.

◄ On her mother's step

Divide and conquer ►


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