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.