What it Means to Burn: a Poem

I held this matchstick in my hand and wondered
why I smelled the burn of rotting wood.
I never thought it wise to burn bridges
(because when they splinter under our feet,
it’s a long way to fall).

You reassured me the payout was worth
the damages,
but somehow, I felt you were pulling wool over my eyes.

You weren’t a con artist or a sham, but when you lit
that match and the air smelled of sulphur and
burning things,
I wondered if I had been fed a line
and swallowed it naively like a promise.

(They say don’t burn your bridges,
but somehow, all the bridges ahead of me blaze,
my lungs taste like ash
and there’s no way home.)

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