Fire and Desire

(creative response to the movie The Burning Bed, starring Farrah Fawcett)

As I look at the fire in her eyes, it was my
surprise. Help me, she cried.
I don’t know what to do or who I can turn to.
Help me, she cried.

He’s beating me and I’m afraid to leave, even though
he’s not afraid to make me bleed. Oh! How can I stop
him? Do I really want to leave, or do I desire to stay?
Which way can I go? Which direction can I run? No, no,

I’m not having fun. Help me, she cried. I cry, too afraid
to try, to try and fight back, fear of losing, fear
of abusing myself–look at me, look at myself. Who is
this person in the mirror? Where did I go?

Help me, I cried. I look like I just died. Where is my
pride? I refuse to hide anymore.
The fire in my soul has overcome my inner peace, I’m
raging with fury. Help me, I cried. Forgive me,

she cried. I can’t take the pain anymore. I’ll wait
in the dark until he’s asleep. I’ll wait. I’ll wait.
Forgive me Lord for my future sins. Now I’m about to grin
as the desire for peace comes over me. As I pour

each drop of gasoline around the bed, waiting
for him to turn his head because of the smell. Oh well,
we both can burn in hell if he awakens. But he’s still
sleeping, now I got to go creeping, creeping

out the door, so when I throw the match
it won’t catch the tail of my dress.
Oh, what a lovely mess:
the flames of my fire and desire.

-Diane McCoy