Forest Aflame | Tufts Observer
Poetry & Prose

Forest Aflame

As I walk, my footprints trail behind me, each imprint radiating a soft glow. The embers hang low, suspended in the air, leaving a serpentine haze to accompany me. 

As I wander, so does my mind. 

I was fine before you. Before those cerulean eyes pierced me. I was fine before I knew. Before I trusted. Just fine. 

I didn’t know the sky shouldn’t be an abyss of turbulence. I didn’t know the stoic trees shouldn’t shrink away with fear, wilting and graying. I didn’t know it could—would—be like this. How brightly the sun’s shimmer would reflect off the leaves. That you would run the path by my side, the solitude of the forest fading away. 

I was fine. I wasn’t fine. I didn’t have you.

But now I know you. I know those eyes, that smile. I know you. I know and now, now I trust. 

I trust the reason. I trust the path. I trust the truth. 

I trust you. 

I used to walk the path through the trees and see the landscape encircling me. I saw it but I didn’t see it. I didn’t know it. I walk now and there’s no longer the landscape I used to know. I walk now and my world glows. It glows from my heart, leaving a trail of luminescence in my wake. 

I cast my gaze up. 

The light sifts through the trees, scattering an illuminated labyrinth of light and shadows on the floor below. The rays chase each other through the branches, racing and interweaving through each limb, never discriminating, never differentiating. Their amber shines onto each leaf, dancing over the dampened moss and caressing each segment of peeling bark. 

My eyes flutter shut. 

I feel the presence of the forest over me, looming, protecting. The warm glow of the sun persists through my eyelids, illuminating my mind and igniting my soul. 

I bare my soul to you in the light of day. No longer hiding in the safe comfort of the darkness, every shadow and every chasm is exposed. You don’t shy away, you don’t fear me. You see me.

I see you.

You are the spark, igniting the embers and stoking the flame. Every stroke, every touch, every glance. I feel the forest around me, each sprig and branch vibrating with life. The air sharpens as the leaves around me combust, each one engulfing in flame. I feel the heat encompassing me as the glow through my eyelids intensifies. You are the spark. 

I open my eyes. 

As I walk away, my footprints singe the path. The surrounding fire fuels me and I begin to run. I chase the path of glowing footprints, looking for the heart that is indistinguishable from mine. The heart that glows. 

I run, faster and faster, until I collide into your arms. Our hearts meld. We hold on tight as we become engulfed in flames.