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Kindled, the fire fed itself,
seething, ebullient on blistered wood,

fuming and reeking in the humid night.
The crimson sky above the house

pinwheeled and snapped in shingle
blast, roof twist,

the blaze of burning air.
At the head of the stairs

three small boys,
Jontae, Andre, Fontel,

held each other
and screamed. Transcalent,

the steps sagged and gave way.
Illuminate and hot blooded,

their tiny hearts were cauterized.
But on their mother’s tongue

their names remain
as vowels, incombustible.