I asked the fire about him. I asked for a sign.

The fire just laughed, like the river.

It was quiet. I waited.

The next morning I found flames inside my skull, licking the ramparts,

With the passing of many moons you have grown old, foolish, forgetful.
Do you not remember when you curled like smoke into his side? 
Whirring, spinning, shaking within the smallest bricks of their being - the elements recognize themselves in the looping circuits of another. Patterns. Movement. History unfolding into destiny. Lava veining a blackened slope. Sulfuric bite of cloud on your tongue.

Look behind your eyes. Is he there?

I closed my eyes and felt him staring back into me. He did not blink. Something in the depths heaved, and every room I’d built began to collapse. Midnight stars gazed down on the courtyard. The noise grew. Dust escaped in plumes. Still unblinking he threw a torch over the gates. It landed softly in the dirt, careful flight tearing a hole in the spell-web I’d woven around each stone. 

The sky drew in a great breath and for a moment all particles were suspended in heavy quiet. Then everything exploded. Flames, bursting out of windows. Roof tiles crashing to the ground. In heaps of glass and hot clay and burning timber I screamed for him. Please. My heart cannot beat hard enough to tell you what I want you to know.

He took my hand. He held it for hours.

Alison McConnell