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All Things Burn

Rowan Brown, Michelle Mo

June 17

Piece by Rowan Brown. Image titled “Image 2” by Michelle Mo.

The puerile campfire was assembled,

but not lit.

The moon hung over the tree,

that curved over the boy,

who crouched in the blue light with a bottle of Crisco.

He soaked

each meager stick with vegetable oil,


while I,

and his sister

looked inside for a match.

Finding only one,

she ran up the


white-carpet stairs.

I called to her brother,

and he ran with me to the garage to sift through

bird cages,

and amber,

and zippers.

Only after finding topaz and frisbees,

did we come across the dusty box.

Everyone emerged from warm light

into wet grass and gates into parsley.

This is when it starts.

The cold, and the little-match-girl imagery.

But this is not a terrible children’s story.

The boy held the box of sparklers

that we’d found amongst the gemstones,

and his sister,

the hairspray found up baking soda stairs,

and  I watched.

I watched the vegetable oil leaves smoke

under our floral-scented flamethrower.

The hairspray flames

became our lousy fire.

Our day

Our night

epitomized in smoke

billowing into the rush-hour sky.