Excerpt from The Flames by Robert Kostuck

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This story appears in the Fall 2013 issue of Tiferet. The entire issue can be purchased here.
 
       “Sometimes I do not understand what I hear. I’ve made no secret of this. God speaks clearly and all I hear is a—melody—almost a song—which I feel and understand in my heart; but my mind is confused. I cannot comprehend. They want to believe that Saint Margaret or Saint Catherine or an angel appears and speaks unaffected French and then, oh! it would be so simple to judge what is said. Yes they come to me as flames, flames combined into something more than individual voices, yet maintaining a semblance of individuality—each flame obvious and apparent, combining into a vision seen with the eyes. In the beginning this confused me until I heard the words, With God all things are possible.”
       “You call me Anne. May I call you daughter? You’ve never spoken of this before.” Anne is still standing. “Why did you not—? An explanation so simple—”
       “Do you understand what I tell you?”
       “I understand that you heard the voice of God speak to you through the agency of flowers, trees, birds, wind—the essence of what it means to live in this world. Against my will I envy you.”
       “This voice, Anne—anyone may hear this voice. Everyone is constantly hearing it, the murmur, the tumult of life, the cry of the newborn, the gasp of the dying. It is all around us. The flames burn inside everything. Trees, rocks, flocks of birds, the shape of clouds, the passage of time; hidden in the words of others. Even humans have this flame. The incessant imbalance of humours, the ignorance of the unlettered, the wisdom of the learned, the give and take of success and failure. When one feels the shame of pride: that is the voice. When one truly understands the need for humility or obedience: that is the voice.”

Robert-Kostuck-WriterROBERT KOSTUCK is an M.Ed. graduate from Northern Arizona University. In addition to Tiferet, recent work appears in Southwest Review, Massachusetts Review, Kenyon Review Online, Louisiana Literature, Silk Road, EVENT, and So To Speak, to name a few. He is currently working on short stories, essays, weavings, a novel; and the primary series of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga. He lives near an ocean; his heart belongs to the Chihuahua and Sonora deserts.
 
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