The Burning
    Joelle Renstrom
I don't remember how it felt.
They tell me I screamed, and that my mother
put my finger in her mouth. And that smell,
flesh on fire, something I remember

when I breathe in the neighbor's barbecue.
And the car-black Reliant with vinyl
seats behind the dugout. A boy's hand through
the open window, waving. Little girl.

I have something to show you, a secret.
I reached. He grabbed. My finger laid to rest
in the coiled bed of the car's cigarette
lighter. The rushed ceremony of it,

our hands joined. He was a judge's first son,
practicing the familial art of preying on.

Joelle Renstrom graduated from the University of Michigan, with a BA in English and creative writing (poetry). She currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and is spending the year travelling abroad.


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