Fleeting & Flaming. {poetry}


His fingertips create electricity
along my spine, causing my body
to want to go where my
heart does not.

A battle rages
along with the fire
inside me. I am learning
to resist neither.

The more
I am with someone else,
the closer I am to you,
feeling you deep inside my soul.

It is a paradox that used
to be maddening,
saddening, eating me up

The monster that
gnawed at my heart spat
it out and said that it was
no good.

In my confusion, I lowered my
defenses for too many who
did not understand what that

Finally, I made a vow to myself
not to let it happen again.
I banished the monster.
It has not happened again.

But I cannot deny
touch. You hugged me, moons
ago. I wanted it to be my last,
no one else’s touch

to wash away yours, their
relentless ocean waves continually
eroding the precious sands of your

I wanted to count the grains
of it. I wanted to hold
each one. I wanted
to freeze time, if I could not hold them.

Waking from my recurring dream
where you stood next to her,
not seeing me, I realized
that was no way to live.

The little hairs on my arm
stand up as he runs his fingers
so lightly over my skin,
and I am thinking of you.

“What do you like?” he asks.
“This,” I say, breathless.
I feel no need to act as though
the primal part of my being is separate.

Heat blazes inside me.
I am not ashamed,
and there is no love
in judgment.

I remember my vow. I have not
met one who truly understands
it. Indeed, I myself do not
always understand it.

In some lifetime, or between lifetimes —
I do not remember which —
we agreed that you would
be the one.

You would be the one
to oversee the gilding
of my truth, to protect it
from those who could not fathom it.

What if you are not the one
breaking my heart,
but the one
guarding its gate?

Perhaps you do not know it
in this life. You do not
need to know it.
I do not even have to be right.

I do not need to understand it perfectly
for it to have
been happening
all this time.

His fingers dance along
my thigh, my back.
I want more, but I
remember my vow.

Pleasures of the body
are as fleeting as
the body itself
when I am not in inner agreement.

I am not baring my soul
to him if he thinks (and he does think)
that I am able to
stop loving you.

He has someone else
in mind, too.
He tells me of his wounds
while we hold each other close.

He tells me I can speak to him of mine
too, but I just smile
and pull him
a little closer.

My knowing is how
I put out the fire and stop.
He sighs. I sigh, a strange
sadness that will pass,

a familiar stranger
to say hello,
leaving as quickly as he came.


Heidi Hendricks has been published in Adelaide and Buck Off Magazine, and was a finalist in the Adelaide Literary Awards 2017 with her essay, “Nonlinear.” She is passionate about music, and plays the guitar as a hobby. She is currently working on a book of poetry and essays. Her favorite topics are self-exploration, peace, love, and healing.


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