The Burning Bush by Tiffany Firebaugh

Love drearily calls out the wrong names
but I always remember yours.

The healer cautions that there is a difference
between the pain of injury and the pain of something leaving
that should go
and as the needle is pulled out of my muscle, I writhe because it sticks.
Your touch is lodged in my shoulder blade.

Another healer coos that I did not know you long enough
to know your patterns of leaving.
I cannot make your firefly name glint and gleam its way out
of the office, out of the stoop—
as out as you wished I had been.

And so, I’ve swallowed you whole.
My insides will sort out what to keep and what to toss.

And though I burn, I am not consumed.

————
Tiffany Firebaugh is a freelance writer and poet, but by day she works in the non-profit sector. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rogue Agent Journal, and if you’d like, you can follow her on twitter or instagram at @tifficaltiff.

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