I have been lighting candles for you.
In the evenings, the light plays against the pale blue walls,
coaxing animal shadows from the window shades. I am certain
the neighbor thinks something religious must be going on,
and maybe he's right. Prayers live in warmth, not words. My mouth
is ill-equipped to combat bad news, and who knows if candles
can do it either, but at least, while I spoon my palms around the flame,
I can feel the room heating by degrees, can sense the molecules
rearranging themselves, gathering close. Dancing, even,
if such a thing is possible. Still, as the hours peel off and the day diminishes,
I know you are still tiptoeing the pencil-thin line, traversing the edge
of your summitless mountain, looking for handholds, a place to rest,
a view of something that will make you forget, briefly, how precipitous and fragile
this narrative is, how flammable the pages really are. I am useless here,
of course. I have been lighting candles and thinking your name and wishing this fire
could burn everything away, return you to the long, wide pasture of infant joy,
take with it all semblance of ash and ruin. It is a false and shameless hope,
but still, it is a hope. A small rupture of belief. A shadow of light.
A flicker of heat, shaking a disobedient fist at an unseen enemy,
warning it to stay away for good.