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She had no patience for anyone
who had not set themselves on fire.

It wasn’t a game to her, or an idle pastime.
It mattered in a way you couldn’t understand

until flames crawled up your skin from the pyre
consuming all you loved

boiling the blood in your veins
and filling your eyes with landscapes you’d never seen before.

That’s the kind of woman she was.
She wanted more than to go out with a bang.

She wanted you to take everything with you.
If you couldn’t, then it never belonged to you in the first place.


This poem appears in the collection Inner Planets: 50 Poems by Matthew Howard. Available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook.