They Say If Fire Flickers, It Doesn’t Burn

March 30, 2020 ☼ writingpoetryfree verse

By Raven

General Information



A poem that explores the difference between what society says love should be and what it actually is. This is an exploration into sexuality, romance, and subversion of expectations.

Poem Content

They Say if Fire Flickers, it Doesn’t Burn

At five I stood in swampy grounds
and danced through gossamer wings and bloody bites with my cousin and her draw string curls.
We traded laughter like kisses,
and I wondered if this is what love will taste like: humid and salty, and the smile of scraped knees?

And yet I was taught at my mother’s breast that love
is not suckling in downy arms that fold at the inner creases and pull you tighter against tide-smelling cloth.
It is hairy and craggling with big hands pressing and prodding like sculptor’s knives.

The days of butterfly kisses on your sister’s nose or lifting the skirts
of your cousin and hiding forever in the tent of innocent warmth have faded into the sin of cradling baking palms in the Arkansas heat with intertwining bodies
swaying to a secret song that only exists in the limbs of the moving.

I must welcome calluses careening into my foyers and thunking me on slick
mineraled lanes leaving me to tip listlessly to a certain end because love is striking
matches on Tinder’s fading screens and writhing with my insides screaming to die.
Love is dismissing the parts of me that ache
like pebbles must cry to be oak and birch instead of skipping and free
falling into hopeless depths of stoned destiny.