I remember that touch. The burning kiss, where flame met cloth

and slowly wormed into the threadbare carpet, so clean

you could eat off of it and still live, still walk, and so it glowed

brief and hesitating flicker of psuedo-life, pulsing, growing with

each slumbering rise and fall from his chest, cigarette poised

in graceful fingers that loved to kiss the waiting cheek of a child

with a slap so crisp it reverberated like a snap from a clean sheet.

So brought to life it glowed, grew and gave back to the sleeper

its own exhaust, heat licking playfully onto graceful hands, and

I heard the screams long before I smelled the smoke, the sudden

freeze before adrenaline. The dish still wet in small-girl hands,

unsure immature wet small-girl hands that clutched desperately

to cling to comfort; soft linen of mother, brothers already out in dust,

and to carry to safety the soft, calm warmth of Mama’s book of pretty rhyming words.

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