Do not swallow a match looking for warmth

A girl swallows a matchstick, stifles the slow
burn in the hollow of her throat. She wants a
home, she says, smoke curling from her tongue.
Come to my place, the boy offers, kicking aside
piles of ashes. She follows him into the flames
—hair singed, eyes sealed shut. Painting her eyelids
with cinders, she smiles wide into the melting mirror,
warped and wounded. Long after the evening is
extinguished, her charred heart remains on the bathroom floor. In the morning, still smoldering, she asks for water, and he offers her straw. So much kindling, she thinks.
So much warmth.
-Amy Ash, Playing House


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