Gnarled skin, cut and peeled
from a slender pocked trunk
in a storm by shaking hands
and kept in a cardboard box.
A dried husk of a great legacy,
bark and leaves, verdant beauty
now faded, a silvered shade,
a curled fragment of canopy.
Applied to dead wood, piled,
it adds slight height to sticks
and sits there, dormant, until
match head meets strike strip.
The first flicker of rising flame
tastes tender flesh and bites,
shines bright through silver skin,
catches, and bursts, and burns.
Dry remains of an elegant birch,
those charred smoking fragments
of parchment, just for a moment,
shone, and danced, and died.