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I was a lantern then

barely any light at all

not yet knowing

how to use my lungs

afraid of my own fire.


Simmer down,

he said



I was just smoke

moving up

past windows

above rooftops

learning the curve

of the moon

the constitution

of trees

in the quietest

hours of night

these things showed me

how to live.


Until one morning

brimming with sky

and stars

I came back

to my lantern life

and my light was so large

it would not fit.


My fire so bright

it burned our whole house



Simmer down!

Simmer down!

he cried.


I cannot.

I never will

said my



Until his words

were only ashes

swept clean

into a small corner

not fit for fire.


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