Burn Us: Poetry by Sonia Greenfield

“Element: Fire”


They had to use fire extinguishers to put them out. They were carbonized. Abdul Hamid


It is not man’s red flower

as Kipling claimed. We’ve

just hooked our harnesses

to it. It is not flora, but fauna,

the omnivore that will eat

anything. We cage it in

our grills, let it graze in our

hearths, let it feign tameness

in the stove’s blue flame

where it bides its time,

a waiting game. And when we

sic it on our neighbors, it

roars, then licks us clean of our

structured meaning, meaning

skin and bone— ashes

ashes— we are carbon

then we are gone.

Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and now lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches writing at USC. Her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared in a variety of places, including in 2010 Best American Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, The Massachusetts Review, Meridian, and Rattle. Her first book, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market, won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. 


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