My eyes are missing. My lips are dull, and there are only hollow spots where my ears used to sit. A few straggles of gray hair grace my head. Pins and needles hold my breasts, stitch in my sides, and prop my buttocks.

I am wrapped and suspended like a shish kabob over an open fire. The flames lick at what is left of my skin, and I can feel it. It shocks me. It jars me. It burns my sins and cleanses me through and through. I feel pain. If I had eyes, I would cry. If I had a voice, I would scream.

For the first time, I know what is real and what is not.

The stake turns, and night is at my back. I can’t see the darkness outside of my mind. I can’t hear the quietness of the birds nesting, but I feel the coolness against my skin. And I want to reach up where I imagine the lone blue moon sits, and touch it. 

The stake turns again. My heart aims toward the moon. I scream inside my mind as the fire digs into my back like a giant tongue. It digs a hole, enters my ribs and shoots out my mouth like a shooting star.

And before I explode into ash, I cry out to my mother, I ask her why? But she can’t hear me. She never could.