At 10, my body owned enough smoke to

colour a city auburn. I do not deceive you

if I confess to once pawning my soul for a

dirty, guilt stained cigarette. I am a boy on

fire. The night never forgets my name. It darkens

my face. Paints me a burning boy & grows flames

by blowing on my wounds. It is not wise to say a prayer

with fire as a visitor. I fear greeting heaven with

pent up grief decorated by prayers. Loss is a cousin I

adopted & loved from afar. You do not know me until

I am eating up your home. I kiss bodies till ghosts flee,

leaving behind fallen ash clouds. You do not decipher

pain when I inherit it. You do not necessarily understand

burning till I am hugging you.

Boy burns till he discovers why prayers are the worst cities

to visit during emergencies. Boy visits heaven by boat. He abhors

a self portrait in the sky. He burns & sheds portions of a lost

war. He is child of a bomb explosion. He knows nothing but heat.   

Michael Akuchie is a writer & firefly who writes from a dark room. His works have appeared on African Magazine Online, Vagabond City Lit Mag, Dwarts Online, Praxis Magazine Online and elsewhere. He studies English and Literature at the University of Benin, Nigeria.