Skip to main content

Mother and Father Fire

ISSUE:  Spring 2003

Spark, then fire begins. Fire pulls oxygen
deep into the box. Come, child, there’s something
I’d like to show you in the back of this
iron box
. Fire inhales, huffs, and spits

more fire. Startled awake, a spider is killed.
The curious child is drawn deeper in,
as the fire says land thinks like, Home is red,
and Yellow is the color of love, so

the child becomes more familiar as she
begins to pat the fire, to name it Good
, think of it as a kind dog. Walls rise
around the child, the fire is all tongues

for her. It licks the knee that she scraped
at play, nests in her hair the way gentle
birds will at dawn. Climbing up until she
can look straight into the eye of the fire,

the child asks that the fire sing the new song
for her. But the fire only beats and huffs,
slaps out the refrain that it knows the best:
Come, child, there’s something I’d like to show you

here in the back of this box. The child cries
herself to sleep, her tears make the great smoke
that is her bed, and the great smoke carries
the child back up into the tree, where she

dreams her dream of Mother and Father Fire.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Claudia Putnam's picture
Claudia Putnam · 8 years ago

I love the mystery of his piece. The child confronting life in the back of a box. 


"the fire says land thinks like" ... awesome


Recommended Reading