Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #20

Don’t Touch the Fire
by Melanie Odhner


My hands between his, and mine are small enough to fit. Working so fast from curious to pain, they struggle through.

I’ve been warned, but It’s so lovely that I need to touch it, know the texture of those smoothly ragged pieces, pouring up.

It hurts. Pain surprises me like everything, burns and devours. I could melt away, it hurts so much.

We feel time so slow, this close to the beginning. Slow, so the fire traps me here. Horrible brightness is all I see or feel.

Yet it moves fast, so beautiful. A towering, flowing glow. A trick, a hidden monster. Now I know.

In this moment forever. I can’t pull back fast enough.

Even when I do, the fire follows me. I can’t see it but I feel it, alive in my fingertips. The pain rushes in my blood, in my whole body and breath. I struggle to inhale, ragged and whimpering.

Just as I start scream after scream after scream, I’m sitting on familiar arms, dizzy and comforted, because he picked me up high off the ground.

The warmth my skin gathers from the radiating light has a different meaning now.

Daddy rocks me until I can breathe and he takes my hand and kisses the little blisters on my fingers and he says again, “Don’t touch the fire.”


Aimee Laine said...

Took a couple read throughs to really get the feel on this, but this line:

We feel time so slow, this close to the beginning. I think says it all. As a kid, everything is 'slow' because we're learning and as we age, we've learned from our mistakes and wont make them again (hopefully). :)

Michele Zugnoni said...

scream after scream after scream

This is the line that tore at my heart; this is the line that captured me. You do a wonderful job of portraying both feeling and thought, and your ending is poignant and sweet. Daddy to the rescue; it delivers me back to my own childhood.

Thanks for sharing!

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Jade L Blackwater said...

enjoyed your poetry through multiple readings!

SzélsőFa said...

aww, the poor child!
i liked the way the child's emotions and experiences are described here.

Precie said...

I love this. The development of the child's curious perspective is mesmerizing, and the ending warms my heart.

Bexa said...

I agree about the child's perspective, it's quite unique. Well written. I like how it's so complex but in the end it's quite a simple premise - a little girl touching a flame.

Aniket Thakkar said...

I guess, we've all done it at some point of time in our lives. We couldn't just take their word on it, could we. :)

Thanks for a good read.

PJD said...

Unfortunately, I think my reading of this suffered at the beginning because I had just read one about an abusive relationship. So at the beginning, and for most of the piece, I had that as my baseline and thought this was a grown woman, that the fire was a metaphor.

The last few sentences of course make it clear, and that's the part I like best. (But then, they could still be metaphorical...)

fairyhedgehog said...

I thought that was such a tender scene at the end with the father comforting his child.

Melanie Odhner said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful comments, guys!

Peter Dudley-
Oh no. I just reread it, and it totally works as a metaphor for an abusive relationship. There go all my plans of writing something sweet and innocent... lol.

Unknown said...

Really liked this one, and lesson learned I'm sure.

Dottie :)

Old Kitty said...

I really saw through the child's eye - how frightening to meet fire - yay for dad! Take care

bluesugarpoet said...

Very sweet - something like this happened to one of my daughters - I always wondered what was going on in her head! :) ~Jana A.

Richard Levangie said...

The writing is pure and simple, but it carries a wallop. I needed two readings to see how this was structured, but I think it's smart and well-written.

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

lovely,sweet, tender...If fiction is a way to explore our commonalities and encapsulate our truths; inviting emotional response without appealing to base sentimentality, ( the "falsest of all emotions," as someone once said) accomplished that here

JaneyV said...

Melanie - This, as it turns out, is a very sweet and endearing piece, but I didn't realise it until right at the very end. As Peter pointed out, it could have been so dark. I'm so glad that you plumped for the lighter touch. Good job.

Anonymous said...

A very intriguing take on innocence. A strong metaphor for that lesson.

Congrats on Forties Club!