Dreams of Burning

A street is movement, where people meet. A mass of skin and hair and cloth and purpose. Chaos is necessary for order. Charred feet pit pat atop other charred feet. Air is a viscous grey, swirling and toxic. Breath is toxic. Ashes stick to the insides of lungs, bronchial tubes, coughing is a natural process triggered by unnatural means. Bodies are tired, exhausted things, but they continue a violent dance. The buildings are burning. Supports buckle in integral places. Ceilings fall inwards and walls fall outwards. Exposed coal. Heat wave. The smell of burning flesh is a substance. Pour on more petrol.

Concrete is fully oxidized. It will never burn, but its mechanical strength is lost above a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit, shortly after all the water is baked out of it. Typically, failure of concrete structures due to overheating is caused by the differences in thermal expansion coefficients between concrete and its reinforcing rebar. The rebar ends up shattering the concrete. Ripping loose from intimate contact; rejection. Then the whole structure collapses. Dust. The ash of superfluous material falls slow through the smoke, landing on sweat soaked bodies that roll off of each other, smash into each other, push away from each other.

A white smear on dark skin. Knees buckle under heat and sinewy hands slap street pavement as they catch falls. Vérinage; a quick, symmetrical collapse. And plumes. Running through broken glass, partially softened and black from carbonization. Melting fingerprints. Bodies stretching across baking asphalt. They’ll stand again. They just need some rest.

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