Childhood

The quiet was what scared me
not the sound of a crackling fire,
a fire taking in everything,
burning through pictures
through metal, through stone.
It bubbled, it fizzled, it fried
all memory and material.

Though at first
indecipherable,
I saw a picture
blazing in the fire,
cheeks, and eyes, and skin,
a baby in the haze.

I screamed out
shouted her name,
she stared back in silence
afraid of the shame.

The child was familiar
and as soon as I knew,
I felt the feeling of fire
engulfing me too.

The photograph,
that baby was me
being burned up
consumed so quickly
till nothing was left
but a heap of regret.

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