the confusion of elements – leah mueller

I can’t afford to flow downstream,
yet I flow downstream anyway.
My balloon head lies discarded,
as I stand ashore, watching

both eyes rage towards
dry land. Go home, leave no trace.
Extinguish all fires. If an ember
remains, its lightning spark
will set my body ablaze.

No electric current, just
disconnected wires, dangling
like antennas. Ten percent
containment after weeks of battle.

Water, subtle, devours earth
without making a sound: it
erodes dirt, feet, then the rest

of my body. I keep everything
inside, until the monsoon’s pressure
explodes into an uncontrollable volley.

I know what happens when
conditions are wrong.
Every afternoon, at the same hour,
an eruption, then severing.

I remember by now.
Still, the shock catches me
by surprise. Without thinking,
I take cover, descend
from flames into the storm.

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