I have left the wolf of darkness, at least just for today, inside my heart back in the dusky hollows of my soul space. Today, if only just for today—I am the phoenix. I said 'falcon' aloud but it feels right, I am at least halfway certain, that my fiery wings have grown back. Like Lucifer, I took a hard fall from grace and was bathed in blackness; like Icarus, my wings melted when I flew too close to the sun and I caught fire. The wings that crease my shoulder blades are small, still spreading, testing plyometrics, pliability, buoyancy, air flow. Colorless, invisible to the naked eye. In the spirit realm I stretch one out, feeling the ache of disuse for far, far too long. The other swings out as I flex my latissimus dorsi, feeling the dual wingspan of the bat-wing, the angel-wing—both of my wings. Both sides of the same soul, returned to me. The muscles are ready to work on finding an updraft, playing with the pitch and yaw of how high I soar—and yet, it is not time for the flames to fully find my ignited spirit, Apache Mama and the other fire deities waiting anxiously for the coals to smolder, smolder to kindling catch, kindling catch to a slow controlled burn of past consequence, breathing my air, my oxygen, clean and mostly pure. Until finally, eventually, any day now—whoosh—I am engulfed in the fires that have cleansed my spirit, that have burnt away the oil-black sludge of the Dark Passenger's hold on me. My skin scorched by the desert sun but not yet burned. My eyes enlightened by the last light, the lusted-after stare into the sun that took my sight once, twice, thrice, before it made me blind to the truth. But now. But now I can see clearly, or at least in the light of the 'Real.' The phoenix is a burning cycle, as understood through mythology and the ancients. I have reached the end of my cycle, dove feet first into the inevitable crash, and now—and now, it is time to pick myself up and rise.