“To a Taper”

Published October 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

A spark of interest ignites a flickering flame;

A pool forms as the taper surrenders itself completely,

Its former shape altered irrecoverably by a fire that burns to the core.

Unconcerned for self, the light offered to others affirms its existence

Even as its substance melts and gives way to gravity.

How long will I burn brightly before ecstasy is lost

To the reality of extinction?

See now how tears begin to run down, cooling and hardening into place;

Yet the light continues…

Pools form at my base and stretch out in all directions;

Yet the light continues…

Spreading thinly to the point where I will crack if lifted;

Yet the light continues…

The tall taper is reduced to a puddle of melted wax,

Its wick nearly at the end.

The flame sputters, fighting to stay alive,

Gasping for more, but there is nothing left;

A final dance and the flame is extinguished…

I am consumed.

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