purgation

The phoenix descends
into scorching streams of red anguish,
outstretched in a hope-quenching, thirsty blaze
of sulfurous vapors and stinging heat.

Within,
a charred heart,
vine-veined
and vulnerable to the core of mercy’s heat,
is refined in a furnace of suffering.
Resting in the pulse of crimson coals
he waits
crumbling into flakes of ashen grey.

Flames grow drowsy in the black routine of death
until a Breath
spoken upon ash
sparks new flame,
white, embryonic,
in the residue of blood.

Purified, the bird ascends over ash
on unleavened wings of sacrifice.

Ashes blow to the sky.
We live.

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