This is what we burn. The dead. Our ghosts. And illness, like a brand, held long above the fire. Our misunderstandings do become our monsters we admire, for fear is nothing if not love of sorts, obsession. The village men below this home implore upon my grief and seek solution, save their wives, forgetting mine, your sister, and my dying son. You are not a killer, my unrested child, but these men do not know you as I did: a daughter and a weeping lung upon a bed that lies an empty tomb. What sins do we exhume for peace of strangers. Buried deep into the snow, your ruddy face is like you never died. This is the myth, so the liver they must take and wound you. Your brother takes into his mouth your heart, the viscid flakes, the frozen liquid in half-rot, abrasive on his tongue, and summons in his gut a nausea, an ancient violation. Old kings ate their fathers to sustain their lion hearts, but God does not abide by these pursuits. Not years before, these fathers burned such sins upon a witch-like pyre where now these desecrations are communion, Christ-like healers, tonic-waters. Your consumption kills. The men of the village sleep calm inside their homes that night and in two months when little Eddie dies, I bury, and they hold their wives in satisfaction of a prophecy foretold, an obsession that they laid to rest. But science will not know this for another many years. In five, you’re born again and offer up to man a devil we don’t know that you had written. Long buried in the heartless mire, your cold blood does sail a thousand tales. Our misunderstandings do become our monsters we admire.
Adrian Belmes is a Jewish Ukrainian writer and book artist residing currently in San Diego. He is a senior editor for Fiction International, editor in chief of Badlung Press, and vice president of State Zine Collective. He has been previously published in SOFT CARTEL, Philosophical Idiot, and elsewhere. You can find him at adrianbelmes.com or @adrian_belmes.