Hesitant and fearful,
She looked at the bed of coals before her
Willing them away
As though by the force of her concentration
She could undo their reality
And send them into the wilderness
Alas, they remained there, glowing
Ready to blister and burn and turn to ash
Any foolish enough to attempt a crossing.
Yet she knew, for the signposts were clear
And she was nearing her journey’s end –
Those horrific coals – that firey pit
Lay between her and Freedom.
She agonised for days
Walking close, feeling the heat
Losing nerve and retreating:
A tango of anticipation and dread
Which could go on forever,
Until one day, she understood.
She walked to the edge of the pit.
The coals sizzled, their incandescence reaching out
In waves of burnt air, towards her
Trying to claim her as an offering to futility.
She shrugged at the embers as they winked and glowed
She bent down
She took off her shoes,
And stepped in:
Scorching heat intense about her toes
She walked quickly
Pressing each foot lightly down
Amongst the hills of trembling ash.
Flames licked her ankles,
Sparks rose up her legs, glittering her skin
Hair swept over her face in concentration
Stepping ever onwards
Heat engulfing her body
Consuming her with scorching tendrils
Crisping her skin and pulling her to itself.
She continued; quick, quick, quick
No time for slow, but sinuous
Lithe and powerful
Purpose in every movement:
A rhumba amidst the inferno.
Her limbs glowing with reflected light
Shining with rivulets of sweat,
Cascading down to their steamy deaths
On the burning battleground of coals.
She continued; the other side in sight
Striding now – sooty and smudged
A mess of tiny, fireborne hurts
Singed edges and blisters
The lingering memories of its attempted destruction
She continued, suddenly raising her hands
Her hair flew back, exposing bright eyes
And stunning smile
She took the last few steps
Fists clenched, arms outstretched
Like wings behind her head
Inspired by and dedicated to my Precious; my friend Samara, who dances with fire and wins.