When I was one of those kids

teachers talk about

after everybody’s left for the day,

digging in the dirt was the only thing

that made me feel clean enough to inhabit.

So there I was, in the grasses

behind our back yard,

with just my feet sticking out of the earth

my cupped little claws grooming the tunnel

I’d been digging for days,

inserting pipes connecting the dark to the light

to aid in the ventilation of

the fire I’d light under the ground,

the roots cleared, the smoke steered

out of the sand.

I don’t know how many fires

I started under the ground at Woodcrest Heights,

but I know it was a lot,

and I know I loved each and every one.

You see fires, I’d learned,

were much too easy to spot

when they were above ground,

and I simply adored the feeling of being

alone with one,

of simply taking care of one, feeding it,

keeping it warm, as if it were my child.

Then one day all the holes I dug caved in

after a long rain.

That was when I decided to dig way down

and begin raising my fires within myself.

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