No One Would Catch Fire
by D. Biswas
I love it when you run.
It gives me something different to do. You know how this constant stream of lectures, seminars, papers, bore me. A thousand times I’ve told you, you’re my protégé’. I’m the mentor, you the mentee. There is no escape.
I teach your body, mind, and soul, and while I teach your body, you enjoy it—all those tricks to please a man, that you need to learn if you want to come up in the world. You’re a girl, remember that.
You’re like the sun, you said to me, the first time I tore up your petals, and the room reeled with your woman smell. I feel as if I’ve burned up and dissolved, you said.
Too much poetry, I said as I gathered clothes back to my wrinkled body, you’ll learn.
But now I know you were right.
I had melted you that first time, those first months. Should have kept you that way, molten, burning with ‘passion’, ‘poetry’. Instead, I let you harden, catch your own fire. You have nightmares, you told me, where I’m a black hand, reaching towards you, closing in.
You have become your own sun, and you want to set the world on fire. I see that.
But you have to learn one last lesson: our insignificance. Nothing matters. No one would catch fire.
But you will burn.
I’m too old to give chase, put out the fire. But I can wait in ambush.