The fire drinks oxygen with every one of its forked tongues, but it doesn’t spread. In fact, it doesn’t really burn. It rides in the back seat like a family dog. Someone else spots it and gets alarmed, so I get alarmed too. We run for buckets, dump water on the fire but it simply shakes itself and goes on speaking in its sophisticated way. We try to reply, but only barks and whines come out. Children, take note: This is what happens when you play with the fire in your belly, when you let it get away. I fill my bucket again at the outside faucet and carry the water as gingerly as if it were an infant, and peering in, I see that it has inherited my face.
Dave Bonta (bio) often suffers from imposter syndrome, but not in a bad way — more like some kind of flower-breathing dragon, pot-bellied and igneous. Be that as it may, all of his writing here is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).