A Year of Seeing: May 8: “Grandfather Flame”

Grandfather Flame


The metal doors on the black fireplace

in my grandparents’ house had glass windows

that glowed orange and bathed the whole room

in a warm light as the sun set and

I snuggled in her lap while she rocked me.


He would let me add logs to the fire,

showing me how to open the door carefully

by tapping it with my fingers, going

pfft, pfft, pfft with my lips at each touch.

To grasp too tightly was to be burned.


Even as a child I was drawn to the fire,

that part of my soul remembering

all the way back to those moments of sitting

around the circle telling the stories that kept us

alive when there was so much to fear.


On those cold days when we sat near our flame,

I already knew we had not tamed it, or captured it.

We were blessed to have it dwell among us

and cast both warmth and shadows

around the room as we sat together in silence.





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