Subtle Combustion

Oh here you are
Growing from nothing
Dancing along your smooth
Metallic scorched surface.

There have been others.
You’re not the first to inhabit this vessel
Melding and transforming
with a determination to be viewed
not just as palatable
but as memorable.
There will likely be others,
But let’s try to stay present.

Tiny short breaths.
Moments, some most vivid
when strung together.

In the beginning they were the same,
Knowing with enough time their world and former selves would be changed.
But for now they invite
the chaos and excitement.
They need it, like the air
we breathe.

Heat builds
some leap and bound
Others look to their vigorous predecessors
Anxious to be set free
From the shackles of their roots.
They need reassurance,
I whisper with a smile ‘your time will come.’

Too much can make you silly
Too little can turn one aloof.
As forgotten as the gum wedged into the sole of your shoe
Once a source of such angst
Now as much part of the fabric
As the stitches holding it together.

As small as the splits in a hair,
So imperceptible an expert would
strain to find the source.
This unsolicited visitor
is most certainly not a welcome guest
to the dinner party I had envisioned.

But I am not an expert,
I am merely an observer.
Waiting, so desperately
for the bubbles to detach
from their safe homestead.

Let us cut out the fancy distractions
and start anew.
After all, our ancestors achieved success
With far simpler methods.

As I rotate this relic in my palm
I’m overcome with fondness for the memories it represents.

It was meant to be a simple day
As uneventful and ordinary as any other.

I suppose there were signs.
A faint stench –
The slow rot of something once cherished
Scraped abruptly into a garbage can
Forgotten of its former self.

Perhaps desire makes us blind?
Boiling blood and racing minds
Leave little room for tranquility and reflection.

A swift strike, a spark, an explosion.
Was it that one solitary moment that set my world ablaze?
Or was it the many moments leading up?

The blood rushed to my face
My eyes boiling over
Suddenly all my senses returned.
It was too much to take.

Then it was over.
There would be no dinner party.
Like a willow tree caught in a hurricane,
there would be nothing.

[Read “Revisiting St. Nicholas“]

Jaclyn Holmes

Jaclyn leads a consumer research team at a boutique payments and lending firm based in New York City. She manages the firm's research publications and the design and execution of cross-market studies on behalf of financial institutions. When she is not focusing on emerging technologies and the motivations behind consumer behavior, she likes to spend her time traveling, dancing, and scuba diving. Jaclyn currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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