{Thoughts}: Ashen Worlds (The Autobiography of a Phoenix)

A phoenix: her wings carved of novels, pages flap in the breeze. Every time she immolates herself, the memories of her life smolder in the air and memories hang in the balance. She is never born stupid. She is born with a thousand memories (and I have a thousand more). We cannot keep a secret because it’s autobiography dragging us back to nest (and home). These stories we tell ourselves masquerading as fact (not fiction) can be fatal. The smoke is as lethal as carbon monoxide, but lovers watch our rebirth, hoping to report romance and magic. Ink trails stream down her feathers, telling the tale as old as the dust in her talons, and she burns once more.

She is tired of this insipid cycle; her claws are hollowed-out, rolled journal entries, but she is brave enough to set fire to the only life she knew. The ink droplets are the tears she shed, but the moment she sets forth to burn herself is another story lost to the funeral pyres. (Will we remember her name? Perhaps not, but a phoenix dreams of a legacy greater than herself.) The novels etched into her wings are fiction, but autobiography is suffocating her. She’s tired of the fictions that encompass her. She is a work of art, but all anyone can see is the spirals of ink jettisoning out of her heart. The trails of scripted memory. The words she swore wouldn’t be so translucent, but that’s all they are.

Everyone could see through this phoenix’s heart. It was clear glass and wires. The wires keep it beating, and the words inscribed there are a shrine, a testament to her beauty. She is one to equate her sacrifice with love, and no greater sacrifice than to lay down her life for the sake of memory.

In ways, the phoenix wishes she could retire from this life; she thinks of the simpler lives. She remembers all the thousands of cities she constructed, the skyscrapers she built of ash. The cities made in the wake of her self-destruction. She cultivates her self-hate to allow herself rebirth. The worlds built in ash are the only worlds she knows. This is the mythology of autobiography. This is the mythology of self.

She thinks of Isis and Icarus. She would give anything to fly near to the sun on wings of wax and feather; she knows she wouldn’t be as foolish nor as greedy as Icarus, she would stop before the melted wax dripped down her spine. She would pull away before the feathers smoked, but she never got the choice.

(For some have phoenix written in their destinies.)

-L.G.

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