After the dinner plates are cleared,
Katie dips an impish finger into the hot wax
pooled in the silver tin of the tea light
and watches it dry, wincing and fascinated.
Then she flicks it off with her neon thumbnail:
a thin sheaf of wax, round and smooth
as a bald head.
The first rule of my house, Katie knows,
is NO PLAYING WITH FIRE!
announced during her phase of
sparking tissues in the house, holding them
with a careful hand and blowing them out
seconds before they blistered her
– a strange game to someone
who fell against a wood stove as a child,
though the memory is forgotten
and the burns long healed.
RULE #1 AT SHAYLA’S HOUSE IS
NO PLAYING WITH FIRE!
but this is not my house. I dip a caution finger in
the melted wax and tease at the flame with Katie
until she pinches it, fearlessly,
with licked fingers.
This poem was written in response to NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt #17: something elemental on Read Write Poem.
Photo by Roi Boshi
How do you feel about fire? Does it frighten you or are you prone to playing with it?