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The Burning

by Emily Kingery

Remember our game, how I would wait

at the edge of your backyard for hours

with insects shrieking, expecting soon

the spark would catch? That the lamps 

would short, the doors would gray 

like match heads, your wife would ash

as your daughter crawled out for me

and the beams fell black behind you?

I loved that game. We became ourselves,

our bodies forged by arson. Our hands

turned criminal, sculptures of better hands. 

We posed them in our imaginary home, 

a place where the girl could play by our light. 

We watched her cupping fireflies, but she 

has learned by now to unhinge the wings.

About the Author

Emily Kingery is an Assistant Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. She serves on the board of directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.

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