Fathom Mag

Third Degrees

A Poem

Published on:
December 10, 2019
Read time:
2 min.
Share this article:

A touch of warmth turned bracing heat
His gentle embrace a sudden stranglehold

I plug my ears to the sirens in the distance
He didn’t know better
I don’t deserve better 

It’s better than being alone 

This is what it is to be alive, to be loved
Fire cracking, wood breaking
Blood pulsing, skin burning, sweat dropping 


It feels good to feel

Never mind what I feel

Together is better than alone
Picturesque better than reality
Complete better than broken
Smiles better than tears
Lies better than truth 

Embraces shouldn’t burn
But the aloneness hurts too
The frostbite of loneliness
The third degrees of love
It’s all the same 

It’s hot


Just shed another layer
Take off you coat
Take off yourself
Your skin will adjust to the burn 

The shock will set in
The pain becoming all I know

The flames lick their lips as his lips touch mine
And yet, mesmerizing 

The smoke is so thick now I can’t find myself
My shortness of breath again from him 

I choke, sputter, ache
Ache for air that honors my miraculous lungs
For a man who honors my breath
For an embrace that honors my life 

Why didn’t I stop drop and roll
Where was my escape plan the school assemblies had taught me

How did I miss the smell of smoke

Is love that intoxicating 

Who stays in a burning building I ask myself
Forgetting somehow to ask who started the fire 

I forgive the arsonist over and over again while the fire rages on While the flames threaten to burn me alive

I’m learning to tell the difference between warmth and wickedness
Heat and hurt
Love and lies 

It’s slow going as the smoke lifts
My eyes learning to trust again 

To distinguish the warmth of a sunset
From the danger of a forest fire

Next story