A Case Study of Fire

micaela walley

Fire doesn’t always have to be chaos.
Instead, it can be the breath beneath

your hand or a tub full of bubbled
water worth stepping into. It can

be your back against my own
as we sleep, or the bread you toast

to top my special sandwiches. I love
most warm things. I know

I shouldn’t admit that. Love itself is
not a fire, but a road that leads

to a cliff. You have to decide to jump,
before you fall. Maybe that’s not right

either. Maybe someone pushes you in,
like the deep end of a swimming pool

at the finish of summer. Winter is also
a fire, probably the worst one yet.

It turns our home into a cage, our
togetherness into a sun-like necessity.

So here I am, swiping my finger
through the scented candle’s flame.

And there you are, wondering
what it takes to make me burn.


Micaela Walley is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. Her work can be found in ENTROPY, Hobart, Huffpost, and Okay Donkey Magazine. She currently lives in Hanover, Maryland with her best friend–Chunky, the cat.