on the edge of the fire,
pushes a final branch into the red
core with the last of his strength.
His claws, bruised from the flint,
dig feebly into the dust. This close the
heat feels wonderful -- he's always cold,
He preens, pulls forth a draggled
feather. The bright plumes have gone grey as ash.
There was a time, he remembers, when he was
a spinning flare of red and gold -- a time
before the tightening pain stole the sky
from under his wings. But would it be worthwhile,
to go through it all again -- bones cracking
in the heat, the terrible stench of burning
feathers -- when the only end he'll ever reach
is one from which he must begin again, and again,
Through milky eyes he watches
the flames leap higher and wonders
what it might be like to die
without the sickening heat of the pyre,
to come to an end that might finally
let him rest. Rebirth is all he knows --
he would welcome a thousand years of sleep.
He settles to the ground
and watches the heart of the fire.
he is content to be warm.