I was in fifth grade

playing in the fire

with a stick

I had whittled

down to the bone.

It was ivory white, except for where the fire had blackened it


the sparks were flying into the sky.

“Knock it off!” My dad yelled at me,

and I stopped for a bit, but then I

started up again,

knowing full well,

I was wrong,

and then an ember

the size of a marble

landed on my sister

and burned her right through her shirt

and without even thinking, I picked it up

and placed it back into the fire.

My sister screamed,

“I’m burning! I’m burning!”

“What did you do?” My dad shouted at me.

“Wait, dad, it’s okay,” my sister said. “He picked that burning coal off of me with his bare hands.”

My dad smiled at me.

“Don’t play in the fire, son—okay?”

“Okay, dad.”

I’m looking at my finger now

while typing this poem

and the scar

is still there.


One thought on ““Don’t play in the fire, son.”

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