Red She Wept, Blue She Heard

By: Nicole Wasylak

I loved to set the world on fire and watch it as it burned

I loved to see the destruction I could create from sheer force

A power that anyone has and I just had too much of it

I was a northern wind with kerosene and a match and I set everything ablaze

Because I was not heard

I could scream and yell and cry and fight and all around me remained

The leaves continued their lazy sway and the oceans continued to grumble in their sleep

The hills still rolled under the sun, undulated in a sea of grass that I envied

Because grass didn’t get angry and grass didn’t beg

Not to be forgiven or heard, grass simply existed and did what it did best

It grew

But I? Oh, the vicious “I,” the word that makes the sun orbit around me and not I, her

What a crooked word, one which makes me feel that I am the jewel in the sky

I am the breath in the wind and I am the water that runs through the forest like veins

I always wondered why “I” was so small, a single letter that carried more power and suggestion

Than any in all language

I never said you. I never looked at you. And I never saw you.

Because you did not see me. You saw red and red was brighter than yellow or blue, or heaven forbid, even green

Red was hotter and drew you in like a moth whose wings were singed because she didn’t know that fire burned

But of course fire burns, and I needed help putting it out, so when a calm ocean was my neighbor

When the gulls would lull me to sleep and the tide washed over the lethargy

Leaving a steaming, naked, frail body in its wake, she awoke

She blinked the ash from her eyes and tied her burned hair behind her neck

Feeling the sweat that poured from her body like her eyes, those wonderful, liquid irises

That rained more than the sky

And the burned body was raw and new and old yet young and it shivered

The first thing the body did was shiver

And then it wept

It wept out of gratitude for the ocean that set her free

While it cried at the waves for changing her so

Because the body knew not what fire could have done, but what no longer was, as the shore rolled it away

So she stood up and walked beside its shoulder

thankful for the horizon that yawned in the morning and winked at night

The sleepy clouds that seemed to follow her, watching, keeping an eye

And the sand which drifted in between her charred toes, a fluid grace that washed the soot off her feet

Replacing it with a golden tan that seemed to walk atop it

Learning how not to sink in

I love to cast a light towards the wind

I love to see the magic I create from inside

From a quiet language that only the waves and I speak

I am a lightkeeper with a match and I set everything aglow

Because I now hear


A version of this originally appeared in “Healing” The Teller December 2019 Issue #9

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