By Anna Stacey

When I was three years old

My brother almost dropped me in my fireplace

Parents screamed, flames licked and the air tasted like stale fear and

Words perching on quicksand cliffs

But warm hands reached out

And he caught me.

Nine years later

Under the heat of a sun still burning with the intensity and passion

Of every fire that ever burned and fed

I watched as his fire turned to ash as mine fed frantically

Upon its own embers

Searching for life where life had done nothing but taken away

Probing for oxygen where breathable air no longer existed

And desperately looking for some sign that when his ashes mixed with soil

They would still have life enough to rise up and live on

In me

But ashes met soil and my heart stayed frozen

Urn hit earth and life was still gray

His fire extinguished as mine still attempted to live on with no hearth and no flame

And just like the air and the screams and the words I tasted in the air nine years before

Golden rays reached out to grasp the life that still remained inside

And he caught me.