Phoenix by Cameron Mathieson

As the tide rises above its own highest mark, it swallows every last reluctant debris. Among them is my body of yesterday, which I have anchored down with stones & prayer and which, like a cicada’s shell, is molted for wings.

I recognize the gravity, the all of everything she has pushed through for me. Feet having dug, fingers having scraped, heart having heaved, voice unmuffled I now speak for my underground nymph and her faith.

Feeding on root juice and things you can’t prove, her life was an exit tunnelling all the way through.

Yes the shedding is long, but the swallowing is quick. I witness the sea lick the last of her lifelessness under, standing taller than my would-be fears, I wonder if she’s left anything in me behind. But my gratitude eclipses the dark fullness of her sorrow; the fractures in her backbone are in me twice firm; into the emptiness of her loss my fullness pours; and where she stood alone, I fly in formation.

My heart is her much-deserved award. Gilded and inscribed in defiance, it is for her that I shine.