To My Darling, In Flames by Mary Ford Neal

To My Darling, In Flames

In a random act of evil, someone set fire
to the two of us, and we wander the streets
like torches, separately, scorching things we pass.
Choking heat beats out from us
and people draw back from it,

but I want you to know that yesterday,
when we happened to stumble past one another
on Main Street, scattering the shoppers and sightseers,
you were magnificent, my darling—
resplendent in your flames.

Your oranges and yellows were so vivid I could taste them,
and the way they stroked up your sides reminded me
of your fingers on my ribcage. Yes,
most of the faces wore horror.
But know that at least one
was looking at you with pride.


Mary Ford Neal is a poet and academic from the west of Scotland. Her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Interpreter’s House, Bad Lilies, One Hand Clapping, Long Poem Magazine, Honest Ulsterman, After…, Ink Sweat and Tears, Dust, and Atrium. She is the author of two recent poetry collections: ‘Dawning’ (Indigo Dreams, 2021) and ‘Relativism’ (Taproot Press, 2022). Her poetry has been Pushcart and BOTN nominated.

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