The closest I ever got to being burnt
was when I was a child, before others
got burnt themselves, before I learnt
that being burnt's not much to hanker after:
at the wake, blinded by whiteness and light,
my flame flickered. I thought it was my chance
to know what they meant, speaking of their plight.
I stole a glance, slowly looked askance
to be sure that the coast was clear.
My finger sped through, its desire suppressed.
I thought for a while I knew how flames sear.
Wanting to know how it really caressed
I tried to go again. This time it disappeared.
I waited. From extinguishment it never veered.