Never brushing sleeves to arms,
they stand side by side
simply warming their hands near the orange flames.
Staring at the burning logs,
locking a gaze with anything to avoid each other’s eyes.
Darkness covers the grass and trees
and faces appear in flickering light.
Identical expressions spanning cheek to cheek,
unwavering and expressionless
concentrating only on holding back tears.
Silence except for the crackling wood,
popping with little orange flecks.
They float into the atmosphere
and disappear extinguished,
never meeting another little speck.
Existing only for seconds.
Simultaneously, they reach into their chests,
so easily done, as if an opening had already been made.
Spurts of scarlet gush out in diagonal directions
and they each bring a hand into sight,
revealing two hearts by the light of the flame.
Identical down to each artery,
perfectly equal in size and beating in unison.
From the hearts to their eyes, they stare.
Slowly taking a deep breath, inhaling, exhaling,
and reluctantly the hearts slide from palms to fingers to fingertips.
They fall into the flame and roll to the edge,
embracing the embers at the bottom.
Harmonious heart beats become discordant,
one becoming labored and weak, struggling for life,
the other beating rapidly, contorting shapes.
Both figures lay still,
turning grey and black.
Ashes flake and flutter up into the atmosphere.
The two standing side by side begin to walk in opposite directions.
The flame gets weaker and weaker until it burns out
and the two people disappear.