Saturday, February 4, 2012

Setting fire to paper boats

Two adults sit in the dusk, man and woman. Their conversation is a lake and they cavort in it like teenagers.  He swirls the undercurrents and makes waves then proffers them to her like a powerful gift. She frolics a little and sometimes dives deep under to feel the strength of his tides.
They take up positions at the edge of the lake. The have each made a paper boat, beautiful objects, and now they place them in the water. He pushes his and its prow makes a handsome shape knifing through the water. Her boat is less muscular, it drifts and dips.  They look at each other, at the lake, at what they have made and how beautiful it is.
Suddenly he pulls a matchbook out if his pocket. Her nostrils flare and blood thickens as he strikes flame along the paper. He smirks at her and holds the fire above her boat. In her eyes he can see the reflected flame and himself within it and he likes it. When he drops the lit match the conflagration is immediate, both boats are brief incendiary bombs that could go anywhere wreaking their damage.
But the lake is safe, just a little manmade folly. The conversation slows and turns away from the ash on the water, as it must do. Soon the ash will sink, the wine will be drunk, the evening over.

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