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.