Every once in a while, I’d see you in the distance while I was driving down the street.
I may have seen you only eleven times in my life, and I know a part of you is essential in all of my living cells, but as I said, I’ve only seen you from afar.
Once, I saw you outside my bedroom window after the first snowfall covered the land in a blanket of white. That’s when I saw you walking outside alone, looking for your next meal.
I know you can leave me with a sour taste, but I know you are needed in ATP, DNA, RNA, and it aches me to see you suffer so.
I think I saw you with your children as I sat out on the balcony of a father’s house — I watched you in the distance, but I didn’t watch you alone. After a while someone said to me that you looked peaceful, but at another time they would have shot and killed you instead.
As I said, I only see you from afar, so I try to learn of how you were created from such large places, at temperatures higher than anything we could imagine.
I tried to learn, because one day I was told to go outside, and that’s when I saw you laying down among the trees, never to walk away from my home again.
I’ve always only seen you from afar, and suddenly, as you lay there, I could see your organs shriveled and sunken in after your skin had pulled away as you wasted away. Suddenly I could see traces from your capillaries, and I could trace your rib cage, outline your spine.
I know the heat that created you. I know you’re highly flammable, and I know that when you start to burn you’re impossible to stop. You fire bombed in World War Two, and the only way they could stop you was by dumping dry sand on you, because you’d burn through the air, and you’d even burn under water.
That’s why you’ve been used in fireworks and in flares. That’s why you’ve been used for illumination and flashes in photography.
So they call this momento mori, I thought, when I grabbed my camera to photograph you in your final resting place. Because even though I’ve seen you, I’ve needed you, and I’ve known the damage you can do, I needed to photograph you right then and there. I’m sorry. I needed to remember you this way.