Only the Fire-born–In Which I Do My Homework

Dear Lily June,

As per my promise last week, I’ve written a poem based on my second prompt, an imitation of Joanna Trzeciak and Tadeusz Rózewicz’s “Homework Assignment on the Subject of Angels.”

Blogger BarbCT was kind enough to give me the topic of domestic violence (an issue close to my heart), while your dad also gave me the image of flames. I combined the two to write what I did, and because I believe a poem should have to stand on (or sink to) its own two feet, I won’t provide any more explanation. I will, however, leave you with this quotation from Carl Sandburg

“Only the fire-born understand blue.”

May you, Lily, never understand–with your body–what the poem means.




burn like
a bone’s portrait
hairline fractures
spreading webs
tickled by spiders’ fists
pouring over
bridal gowns
with snowflake hems

blue flames
sing like
oceans caught inside
the black bathtubs of the drowned

flames of passion
burn like the smallest wish
of an eyelash rain

like kisses
that boil behind whispers
they are red like cherries and peppers
with glitter
in their seeds

blue flames
spill like scars from unstirred soups
like kerosene rain
like the leftovers of cakes
and their rotting icings
like bags under the eyes of newborn parents
like spools of audio tape
rewinding cries on a loop until they sound
like laughter

in my mother’s eyes
countless stovetops

ticking timelessly
the gas would leap like a lover
under the covers stitched
with the red thread of her hair

some burns can linger
a shawl thrown over a shoulder
others just lick the meat
and the inside stays as raw



Picture Credit:

4 thoughts on “Only the Fire-born–In Which I Do My Homework

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