The images spill from one to the next like a steady stream. There's a lot but you made it so that it's not overwhelming to the reader. In the third stanza, there's a sudden introduction to a female persona (...to cleanse myself from my sins, / and "hers") which leaves the reader wondering who she is and why the speaker needs to cleanse not just his own sins but hers as well.
charcoal reignites into embers
albeit struggling to live, an
extended metaphor for the
story of you and I."
I like this part. The image it paints in my mind and also how well worded it is.
The final stanza definitely is the highlight of the poem. Assuming that she (the female persona from before) is the same person as the "you" in the succeeding lines, as I pointed out earlier, it flowed smoothly. Regardless of the technical aspects of English poetry that this is a deadly sin (as my high school teachers used to say haha), I really liked that. It's enticing for me when poetry steps out of the boundaries set by selfproclaimed poets. Only nitpick would be the errors in the usage of a couple of "it's" here and there, where the possessive form should take their place instead. This piece emanates hope / a second try / a redo button, something that I am in need of lately. So yeah, here's to life. Definitely.
I love how this flowed like water...it's like a message to self and a significant other...there's a freedom that exudes from it, a letting-go and a tinge sadness because of that. The use of maybe in starting the stanzas gave it a serene feel, it is beautifully, wonderfully written. The ending is just perfect! Really great job, Mark!
Judging comment: I wish you could be in my head as I read this, almost as much as I could be in your head while you wrote this. What a poem jam packed full of rawness, vulnerability, and these images that have me feeling like I'm shoved in to the atmosphere. The second stanza is where it was for me personally, the piece I drew the most familiarity to, where I felt home at and understood because I've felt these very things. How beautiful to feel understood through someone else's work this way. Everything about the last stanza drew me in. I love the songbird and nuzzled and the clever use of y/our - it all just worked so well. Love this.