Floating Fire

Layla Hendow

I have seen the sky burn black,

and shine in its heavy, blinding blackness.

I have heard the dull whispers of embers

as they fold themselves inwards,

collapse, grow weak,

and then silence.


But tonight the moon hangs above us,

suspended in the day and alive

like a silver coin on a broken chain.


Don’t you think the people and the voices

seem far away from us?

Like we’re on an empty field,

save some lonely cows,

holding hands

in the dark

and watching the night fill itself

with these tiny explosions,

and paper bags of floating fire.


I have seen

too much,

and I am older than I am.


Forgive me

if I find myself recalling

how you would light up in this selfsame way.

Those little glimmers of sparks you let out

through your words and eyes and fingers,

that could set the stars alight.


I don’t know how

we got ourselves here.

In this field

with the cows.


I want to tell you I have seen the sky

burn black

and I have loved you.

Yes, I have loved you

in great handfuls of barley and corn,

from the sacks they keep at the market stalls.

I have loved you

as one loves a thing that is alien to them.

As a thing they are born with.


But you are

only a part of yourself.

And I have seen too much.


I have said too much,



We watch the foundations crumble

beneath the weight

of those glowing dancers,

as they sway their hips, to and fro.

I can’t help but wonder,

if one day they will learn to make fire

that shines,

and does not burn.

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