Inferno: A Sestina

April 6, 2009
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My eyes opened after hearing your whisper.
I turn around, but you were above me, an angel
perched on a tree branch. You swayed and faked a fall.
Panic flooded my veins and tears made my eyes burn.
You laughed, “Don’t be scared, silly. I brought our book.”
I bit my lip and took the book, looked at my trembling fingers.

You looked, too and crinkled eyebrows at fingers
that defied my calm expression. Lips moved, a whisper,
and suddenly they covered mine. Thump, the book
was forgotten on the sandy ground. You smiled that angel
smile and the wind blew sand in my eyes, made them burn,
and I rubbed them, staggering in the wind and falling

alongside the book. You frowned, “What did you fall
for?” You, I wanted to say, but you sat, twisting fingers
through mine. You were a beautiful boy; I would almost burn
when gazing in your eyes. You leaned in my ear to whisper,
“Sweet thoughts?”, but my thoughts weren’t sweet: my angel
troubled my mind, knowing what would destroy him and our book.

The wind ruffled the loved, worn pages of our book
and I looked at you, lying in the leaves and smelling of fall,
woodsy and deep. I longed to return to heaven with this angel,
but tonight, like every night, time slipped through my fingers.
The breeze tried to sneak but I heard it whisper,
“It’s time.” The tree bowed, convulsed with energy, began to burn.

It was odd you didn’t smell the smoke; it started to burn
my eyes. Still, you lay in smoking leaves, the book
open to my favorite page. Flames licked and whispered,
holding my attention for too long before my cry could fall
on your ears. I lurched, clutched to you with frantic fingers
and saw that you were even more beautiful: a burning angel.

Despair choked me when I realized time had run out; the angels
would come for you. I tried to touch you but your skin burned
mine. You stood, and I stared in horror at my fingers:
angry red and blistering. I cried out in despair at new sight:our book
was reduced to smoldering scraps of leather and paper, falling
from the spine. I reached for you, but you crumbled to ashes. A whisper,

“Sweet thoughts?” burn my ears where they fall.
The whisper wakes me and I’m alone, away from my angel.
My fingers tingle and I stroke the charred remains of our book.





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