I was afraid the love would come over me
and char my flesh like the acrid kiss of fire,
turn my skin a new, more true black, blacker than when I was born
and you would see this and be left feeling responsible,
so I turned you away for the night, claimed the shelter was full
but it was a lie I told to keep you safe and feeling irresponsible,
so I could burn quietly and you would know nothing of my death,
that grisly, rueful sight- so sick, was I.