Ellen McCammon


I saw a heart of fire
A gleaming hand of flame
A wreath of gold around the dark
Dark core
The ashes gleaming ruby bright
The smoke scented like my dreams

I thought I knew desire—
there was nothing that I knew.
I knew nothing,
only the fire’s face
the voice
the touch

Then when I leaned in closer
It leapt up in my throat
Hands reaching for me
I breathed in all—
the flame, the heat, the ash, the plume

It cracked inside my bones
My breath is made of smoke
My tears are made of smoke
My bones are charred
My bones are diamond

The fire ate my love
The fire ate my love
There’s nothing left of my love
But the embers in my heart
They keep me warm

The scales of my skin
They keep me warm
The breath of my fire
It keeps me warm




Ellen McCammon is a queer Chicago-based creator interested in exploring gender and sexuality through folklore and myth. Her poetry has been published in Illumen Poetry magazine (as Anne Ellen Clarke) and Bi Women Quarterly. Her fiction has been published in Exponent magazine. You can follow her on twitter @bookpriestess.