Fire Class

Photo: © Joel Remland. All rights reserved.

I swear to you I was a star, an incandescent gathering
of opposing forces hot to the point of implosion,
explosion, start/stop, danger/safety, I swear

for me it was the same as any little girl swirling
around the edges of the pool trying to make
a vortex out of all that blue, trying to make

a current so strong it could make you believe
in only the way that drowning can, that looking
up at an under from which neither surface nor

escape can be determined, I swear I wanted nothing
less or more than the escape every Friday and Sunday
the priest massed to me, congregate with yearning, I

wanted both inwards and outwards, I wished and
I prayed for never, I was the wick atop every candle
and I was the flame that singed it, listen, can you

hear it even to the roots of my hair, this inconsolable
pleasure, this burning, an ending that becomes its
own beginning, all this wilderness, a bright hiss.

Emma Bolden is the author of a memoir, The Tiger and the Cage (Soft Skull), and the poetry collections House Is an Enigma, medi(t)ations, and Maleficae. Her work has appeared in such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, and the Greensboro Review. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is an Editor of Screen Door Review.

Appears In

Issue 17

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