[by Deborah L. Davitt]
Building a proper pyre is hard these days—
it’s difficult to find myrrh at the store.
Dying every five hundred years, you’d think
I’d have gotten used to being prepared.
But it always sneaks up on me, it seems,
and then I have to creak out in disguise.
The bazaars of Baghdad and Ankara have
vanished, though saffron’s become much less dear.
Cinnamon in place of frankincense, clove
in place of nard; I hope that this will do.
Immortals get used to existing—yet,
this slipshod pyre might not anneal my flesh.
Wondering how I let this happen, I
kneel among the branches and stretch my wings,
letting fire bloom and warm my old bones—
accepting its embrace uncertainly.
This could be the last time, I realize;
the flames could well refuse my sacrifice,
and could sear me into silvery ash,
but if it’s my time, I must accept it.
Better a blaze, than to die in the dark—
I think, but awaken with great relief,
finding skin smoothed, and feathers unsilvered—
ready to face the ever-changing world.
Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Reno, Nevada, but she received her MA in English from Penn State. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and son. Her poetry has garnered her two Rhysling nominations and has appeared in nearly twenty journals; her short fiction has appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Compelling Science Fiction, and Altered Europa. Her critically well-received Edda-Earth series is available through Amazon.