Baltimore Solstice, December 22, 2018

Before the moon’s ascension, the usual magic: I soap

and scour my home, burn and waft sage, make way for new

delights, bury things I seek to end, plant hopes to root.

While we sleep, a young woman silently scurries

along Charles Street where nearly leafless maple,

lemon, and laurel trees limn the black road.

She sets seven cars ablaze. Windows of homes

nearby reflect the fires’ glow.

Maybe this city’s daughter is seeking light and warmth.

Maybe she is enflamed with rage. Is she desperate?

Whatever her reasons, she lights cars like votive candles

on this longest night. I, too, have wanted to burn it all down,

blow up my entire life. But I remain tethered here,

boxed like an unstruck match. I, too, desire violent beauty—

to watch fires rise, rage, blaze through the night, then leave

unscathed. Night after night, the candles on my mantlepiece

remain flame-free, unlit, untouched. Fairy lights

suffice, cast a soft, cold glow.

Solstice morning. We awaken to the smell of char,

metal carcasses. A block away, smoke wafts upwards

as the priest swings the censor from side to side,

sending perfumed prayers into the morning’s air.

A Baltimore-based artist and activist, Marceline’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Atticus Review, Snapdragon, Little Patuxent Review, Please See Me, Quaranzine, Gingerbread House, The Copperfield Review, The Free State Review, The Loch Raven Review and others; anthologies including Ancient Party: Collaborations in Baltimore, 2000-2010, and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Essays, op-eds, and other writing has appeared in Woman’s Day, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Sun, and Mother Jones. When not engaged in activism, she can be found learning how to better serve her two cats, posting too many pictures of her garden on social media, and reminding her son to text her when he arrives at the party.

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