Serina and I found matches. . .



Misty Kiwak Jacobs

Serina and I found matches,
not hard in those days when everybody smoked,
and snuck outside

to the fort propped against the wooden fence,
inside a nest of dusty horse blankets,
and in the plaid and flannel crumple

we lit a fire to warm ourselves by,
we, 6 and 7 I’d say, and cold.
A neighbor saw the smoke,

ignited in you the stock dread that
lit all my childhood: soda bottles
conspiring to crack my teeth,

the anxious rituals of locked windows and fast shutters,
of shouting through the front door
to thwart the sinister intentions of kind people,

undercurrents in placid lakes intent on snaring
children as they leap from their fathers’ gleaming shoulders,
roil fishlike in silty water.

With a length rope you held me to the shore,
just short of their abandon.
Just short of beatitude.