The Black Napkin Volume 1 Issue 3 - Page 38

32

bloodline arson

by Chestina Craig

Fire follows me

dances in my hair with the sun

at the horizon. I used to fear her

couldn’t touch a match

today I am a house in flames

a fire sign, an angry girl, no longer afraid

to touch fireworks. She teaches me

about the women. The witches

she was forced to take. Tells me

about my far off grandmother, her accusations

the narrowness of her escaping

how the men wanted her to burn

fearful they were of magic

heating herself alone all embers and glory

the parts of Salem that dig themselves holy

into the women of my family. The women

in my family. Burning witches. Smart mouths.

Price tags on our bodies, the following flame.

She apologizes for taking my grandmother, tells me about the debt

men made of us. The conflagration of her body

a burning breakfast and bathrobe.

Cooking for her husband, the left side of her body a bonfire.

Maybe is why the left side of my body

is always trying to burn itself

the women in my family love

to set our guts on fire love to drink

got arson in our bloodline

a family tree in flames

I used to fear burning branches

but now I dance with the sparks

of my family heirloom

on my eyelashes

see our burning homes

and worship how we keep

warm.