One night, a spark. The aquarium pump motor
whirred a flash into the dry thatch roof of a shed
outside our bungalow. They burned together,
color fed itself to flame, became black crumble
as I slept on the other side of the wall. I don’t know
if I remember the garish glare or the wail of fire
truck arrival (maybe only dreams I made to match
the morning story my mother told) I remember
most the shock that no one thought to wake me,
flammable as I am, too soon for me to turn to soot.
That night I laid awake, dripping spare salt water
into the matted polyester temple of my bear,
repeating in his ear a mantra, I won’t leave you.