I wake in the diminishing daylight and I am smoke,
rising from red burning embers in a campfire
in an open field on the top of a high ridge.
I rise higher and higher above the red and blue flames and the white hot coals,
leaving the warmth of the fire and floating on the breeze,
feeling the chill of the late afternoon air,
above and over the trees,
carried on the breeze,
dissolving into the wind,
until I melt into and become the wind,
making the leaves on the trees tremble and shake.
I move out past the ridge and over the river,
pushing small blue lines that silently glide across the water.
The trees that line the water’s edge
are leaning and bowing in silent deference to me.
I lift dead leaves from the ground and breathe life into them,
making them dance in the cool air.
I make flags wave and I whisper through pine trees.
I am silence and grace,
I am young and old,
I am familiar and comforting,
and threatening and foreboding.
I am life and I am death.
I am the sum of my contradictions.
I find her,
working in her garden,
and I wrap myself around her.
She bundles her jacket tight around her shoulders as I move through her hair,
lifting and caressing it,
until she turns around,
and I caress her cheeks and fill her lungs.
I brush her skin and make goose bumps rise.
I taste her and she tastes me,
and she becomes fire,
ignited by my breath,
and I am the smoke she exhales from her red and blue flames