“Childhood” by Ayesha F. Hamid

The quiet was what scared me
not the sound of crackling fire
a flame taking in everything
bubbling, fizzling, frying
all memory and material.

Though at first indecipherable,
I saw a picture in the flames,
cheeks, eyes, and skin,
a baby in the haze.
I screamed out, shouting 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 and consumed so quickly
till nothing was left but a heap of regret.

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