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She Came Through Ariel Nazifa Islam

I searched for you Lady Lazarus who chose to return to the damned world time and time again. I thought I’d find you in a coal scuttle. I panicked when I realized I had no coal scuttle, that no one did anymore— that no one but the earth held onto coal any longer. I looked to my fireplace instead meaning to rake you out of the ashes, but I live on the 19th floor and I have no fireplace. So I made my own peculiar pile of ash. I sat inside—a room with no windows seemed best, and began to smoke cigarette after unfiltered cigarette—building my pile slowly. I knew I could find you when it became big enough. I smoked fourteen cigarettes and then waited for you to arise. I saw you as a phoenix—blood red and certain to emerge not ugly nor with feathers but divinely, with the power of speech. I saw you red, Lady Lazarus. I thought for certain you were red. You cannot come out of death eight times and not be blood red. Then there you were all of a wonderful sudden and I was horrified, ashamed to have so misread you. Of course you were blue instead.

54 ◆ xylem