Photograph by Helmut Newton

He gives his heart, Like he gives out bills. Throws his dollars, When they look twice. In the long, dark corridor He sees a light, And he burns, He yearns, For her life. For body sweat, Blood, Pubic hair. She’s unshaven, She is beautiful, So he is beautiful. In the darkness He twists, he screams, He loses control Of his thoughts, his words. Endless, endless, His money’s spent and His feelings are senseless.

At break of dawn, The snow falls in that corridor And extinguishes her. 500 years too young, He has a dream to live that long. He seeks the answer of immortality, So he follows her and finds her In a snow-covered field, In flames. A wild fire, Yellow, Red, Black. Screaming, howling, calling his name As she burns, She burns, Burns to a crisp, Burns to nothing In that fire in the snow.

And the wind carries the flame Ignites her hair her feathers.

The flames reflect in his eyes as He watches her scatter. Sinking to the ground, Becoming nothing. Ashes, The color of the cloudy sea, Her eyes, disappear Into Earth. She is nothing. Nothing is everything. He closes his eyes. Harry cries, and cries. What a beautiful sight, What a heavenly light! What a dream, To be nothing. “I want to be nothing.” His hands clasp his face, His bony knees dig the dirt. Harry looks up: He looks for God. But he is gone. Long gone.

Harry chases the dying flames of the phoenix, And cries, “Ignite me! Ignite me!” But they only burn for the bird. He eats her ashes for strength. He’s hysterical. Endless, endless, His mind is gone, His feelings are senseless.

The grey snow falls around him, A call for new lovers to come to him. And there is silence. Let there be no light. Harry rises. He brushes the dirt off his knees, Eats the snow for clarity, Joins the others in the safety Of the illusion of reality. Harry forgets.

He forgets.

Ashes, by Nina Ljeti