Alexandria played with fire,
left lit cigarettes smoldering on parchment,
careless with candles her brilliance outshone,
fanned the hearth with her haughty airs so
jealousy sparked from the embers.
And I: dull coal, burnt matchstick,
followed the warm trail
of ink and ash and melted wax
till I traced it to the source.
Alexandria knew too much,
remembered every word in every language,
could offer any answer in leather-bound tongue,
lined shelves with scrolls of memory
climbing a ladder to reach the top.
And I: left at the bottom rung,
tore pages from their spines
like feathers from her phoenix wings
and bundled them for kindling.
Alexandria had to burn.
Every tablet devoured by her hubris,
every laurel ravaged by her flames.
Funeral pyre. Icarus child.
Flammable girl on a wooden throne.
And I: wept enough to look convincing
but not enough to douse the blaze.
So I took a drag of my cigarette,
let the ashes fall where they may.
Danielle Sherman is a seventeen year old high school student from Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been published in Blue Marble Review, has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and is an editor for Polyphony Lit. Aside from writing, she loves reading, playing soccer, and hiking.