Flames


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Paula E. Kirman lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she is a writer, editor, photographer, filmmaker, musician, and community organizer. Her poetry and songs often deal with themes of social  [+]

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I would stand as a child and watch my mother light candles on Friday nights.
She would closer her eyes and whisper words I could not hear
in a language I could not understand.
I never asked her what she said,

only watched the flames glow in the protruding darkness of winter.
I never asked her why she stopped, when I was grown,
why there were no more flames illuminating the late afternoons on Fridays.
I was never asked to light the candles until my mother was gone,
my hands trembling as I stumbled through the memorized prayer.

Flames are life and death,
they are born of action and buried by time,
extinguished with tears or natural causes,
like the ones that bring us to our own mortality,
when the heat cools and the flicker fades away into smoke.

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