Third Degree Burns

I once met a psychic who told me

that when you join hands with another person

you can feel the pressure points light up

in your arms

for each past life you knew them in

 

when you and I linked fingers

on that summer night so long ago

the fireflies flickered in and out of the darkness

like tiny golden stars dancing

on the heavy, humid breeze

that carried the sticky scent of pink carnations

 

our arms grew warm and glowed

white-hot, like the fiery brand

suddenly pressing itself into my chest

 

that entire summer, we slept all morning and afternoon

because our bodies were too hot for daylight hours

I burned my tongue on your fingertips

as you fed me sweet pomegranate seeds

from the smooth cup of your palm

 

even at night the heat was almost unbearable

so we took to walking through

the fountain in the park, hand in hand,

watching the water hit our skin and evaporate in an instant

into sweet steam that rose up to the tree-tops

 

our favorite pastime was

to go out to dinner and play footsie

with the ice cubes from our water glasses

 

I couldn’t tell at first, but eventually

the burns from your lips left dark scars all over

apparently, in our last life,

we used to get frostbites so easily

that we’d draw snowflake patterns inside our thighs

 

in late August our skin started to peel at the edges,

worn down from all the cracks and blisters

a heat wave took the city into the high nineties

and early one evening your thumb caught fire,

toasting the pomegranate seeds

into a fine red powder that blew away with the wind

 

by the beginning of September

you would turn up the air in our flat and cry

that you were ready for the leaves to change color