Taking out the fire pit the night of my best friend's crisis of faith / Mary-Bryant Charles



Taking out the fire pit the night of my best friend's crisis of faith / mary-bryant charles


You prefer building fires the girl scout way.

Cedar twigs arranged in orthodox vectors,

back a solemn arch against the grievances of the zephyrs.


Were it up to me, I’d slather everything in gasoline:

the cicada skins, the empty inhalers, the books

about rocks and mercy and what manner of


light can stand to exist between the lips of the Mariana

Trench, but I understand that you need to be

sure, that you’re not ready to account for


the path of every wayward ember. We can use the preacher’s

chevron mustache as kindling, the folds of white cloth,

the hands that pushed you back and held your


breath while the baptistry wrapped itself around

you. Feeling saved these days? It’s okay to not.

They say the waiter down the road, the one who


opened his own throat over a pot of rice,

probably wasn’t. I think the hardest part is waiting

for oxygen to come. Sitting through the idea that


the feeling’s sure to come back if you blow at it

hard enough. I’m sure a day will come when

slipping into absence carries nothing of rust.


Faith is a smokestack and

a sculpture and a pulse. Not suitable for

weathering. Not compatible with ash.


Mary-Bryant Charles is a writer and student at the University of South Carolina. Her work has been previously published in Rum Punch Press and in Litmus Magazine. In 2017, She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction and she currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina.