Flashover

I am angry with myself for wanting
for needing
for being a heliotrope who turns to the sun,
believing it to be weakness,
an admission of failure,
as if the blood that the light creates
does not thrum through my veins.

I am angry with myself for being
the vine, the ivy, the leaf—
why can’t I be smaller
more easily pruned
instead of always reaching out
to touch where the warmth touches,
so desperate to drink in
the faintest glimmer of morning?

I am angry with myself for wanting
for needing.
So I withdraw.
I allow my roots to wither;
I allow the canopy to grow thick above me
as if I do not need the light.
I allow it, until wrinkles vein my leaves,
until I am parched,
until I am a kindling,
until I am the barren land,
that space no one will cross.

Then, when I have had enough,
when the wind makes me shiver,
when I drink in that single devastating spark,
I will grow wild,
my presence everywhere,
red blooming boundless,
choking out every weed,
razing the air with life.

I will take the light I denied myself,
swallow it so whole until I become the sun
burning canopies,
blazing paths for new life.

I will love myself for wanting,
for needing.
I will nourish every last creature on this earth.

So speak your anger.
Your wants. Your needs.

I will hear them
and nourish you too.

S. Qiouyi Lu

S. Qiouyi Lu is a writer, editor, narrator, and translator; their fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Asimov’s, and Strange Horizons, and their poetry has appeared in Liminality. S. lives in California with a tiny black cat named Thin Mint. You can visit their site at s.qiouyi.lu or follow them on Twitter as @sqiouyilu.

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