My daughter builds a fire

Out of water and construction paper

At the kitchen sink.

She adds blue and orange strips

To the half-gallon plastic container.

She measures from the tap

Cups of water she calls fuel.

She swirls with the wooden spoon

A sprinkling of silver glitter and adds

A touch of dishwashing soap.

The fire burns as she stirs.

Inches of suds spill over the sides

Into the porcelain bowl and flow

Down the drain.

She tapes across the mouth

Of the container

A page from a coloring book,

A pastel robin with yellow eyes.

With a fork she tears

A hole in the center.

Fire needs air

She tells me.

Once again she pokes the wooden spoon

Into the hole and stirs the soaked and

Fading strips of blue and orange.

The glitter moves in slow motion

As though in a giant fire globe.

She asks if she can place her fire

In the middle of our kitchen table.

It burns as we

Eat our corn soup and pears.

And I think she doesn’t know

That some fires

Burn the hearts from those who are loved.

Sheza Healey is a wife and mom who lives in Durham and teaches part-time at Durham Tech.