Poetry Contest Winner, Honorable Mention, Fall Winter 2021

Sandra Fees

Self Portrait As Flame

A briefcase of bone
       nothing left
but white ash

like a dusting
      of snow. Birds grip
             the scaffolded.

Stairs chirr
      beneath slippered
unevenings. The rib-

cage hurts,
      sliver of self.
             The Buddha

       said to ask
       after death

is like asking where
     a flame goes
             when blown out

but I do it anyway
       the altar
a beholding

to earth
       to tongues—