[by Mari Ness]
The cold creeps softly into your bones.
You shiver against the wind,
grab a leaf huddled against the ground.
A slow burn, this leaf. Perhaps
water refusing to leave
fighting desperately against the flames.
Smoke teases your lips, your throat.
A touch of light,
a touch of heat,
a glittering tumble of smoke and ash.
You think the cold retreats.
Ashes form the bones of earth.
Stars let us see the night.
Make a fire.
Watch flames spread from your hands.
Watch, watch the night.
The cold creeps softly on,
but you, oh you, have fire.
Mari Ness spent much of her life wandering the world and reading. This, naturally, trained her to do just one thing: write. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, and Fantasy. She is a regular contributor to Tor.com, most recently with the Disney Read-Watch, a series about Disney animated films and their source material.