A Fire Sacrifice

Contributor: Dov Lieber

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Some start with a light shining ‘round them. Deeply you know this light will dim. Then there are those who earn their light, ‘round whom one day you look upon them expecting the usual grey, and they’re enwrapped with a lovely glow. An unfathomable universe squeezed into a warm body. Whence comes this light? You’ve been a blind fool. Destiny is revealed. Here, within earned light, not of sun but soul, you find her.

Just the image of her dancing shadow, and you’re made dizzy. The outline, it’s rippling curves, the grace of her long auburn hair. You hear her voice, soft like rain. You ache with pain. You feel she will never love you in this way. How could she? You are the coal and she the fire. But you’ve always thought yourself this way: whomever you love must be better than you.

So you sit down in the circle by the fire across from her. You smile to an at-best-acquaintance. You burn with one desire. You look up and see the flame illuminating her face. You ask: How does her beauty ever-increase? It’s a stupid question. It’s not her but you. You turn from the fire to the stars. They twinkle and you shudder. Yes you’re afraid but that doesn’t mean you need to be a coward. Brother, there is time. Stiffen your neck. Walk ‘round the bonfire. Careful not to fall. Now, now is the time. Strike now, while the iron is hot and before the wood is cold wet ash, and while her heart is softened by song and wine. Don’t panic because there is no room next to her. You can move mountains for her, and now all you need to do is move one person. Tell him that he's being asked for by the cute girl in jean overalls standing alone on the other side. Don’t let him question it. Help him up. It happened fast. Now there is a small space by her. The smooth skin of her thigh is exposed and you’re afraid to touch it with your own. Sit. Just don’t sit and say nothing. But don’t start to talk immediately. Open up a small mystery between you. Stay your hand. Fight the gravity of your feelings. I know you want to slip your fingers into hers. For your fingers to click, first your hearts must.

She shuffles her feet and you haven’t said a word yet. Will she leave you to wallow in the dust and heat? You consider sacrificing yourself to any of the 35 fire gods. Out of despair you consider commenting on the moon’s beauty. Don’t say anything about the moon. The moon’s implied. Instead speak of the desert. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know anything about the desert. It contains all.

And with a bowed head as if talking to dirt, you say, ‘Good night for a bonfire, don’t ya think?”

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Dov Lieber was born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida. After studying the history of the Middle East and English literature at the University of Maryland, and a brief stint working as a journalist in New York city, he moved his life to the state of Israel. He currently serves in the Israel Defense Forces.
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