Alone, in my childhood bed, I’d dream of fire.
Of suffocation. Being snuffed out.

My mother used to tell me stories of little girls
trapped in buildings. Of lives lost.

The same woman who would not allow bedroom
doors to be closed at night, in line with safety

lessons at school. She banned candles.
Feared incense was evil. Did not

comprehend my point about it being
in the bible. About it being a gift.


I still have nightmares. But, these days,
I’m not scared to light a candle

to hold back the dark.

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