Children of Fire

fire, flame, burn

Once we fled
dry season fires
like other beasts,
but then
we learned
to stay along the edges,
to go back in
when the charred ground
where there was always meat
free for taking,
so tender it pulled
from the bones,
our fingers,
still too clumsy
to fashion tools,
stroking thick brows
and furry cheeks
of our children
as we gave thanks
to the flames
with guttural refrains.

Once when lightning
a baobab tree,
made it burn
from inside out,
one of us,
more clever than the rest,
stabbed a stick
into the leopard’s
glowing eye
and carried fire back home,
those embers kept alive
in mud-lined gourds
for the next camp,
and the next,
where we held the night
at bay,
filled our bellies
and sang.

The sun and the moon,
the earth, the water,
and the wind
we learned to praise
as we spread,
but fire was our
and when we were ready
she taught us
to strike
two blades of flint together,
her spark,
the shooting star,
guiding us still.


By Steve Brammell

Steve Brammell has worked as a freelance writer for various publications including Alabama Magazine and Birmingham Magazine as well as industries and medical institutions. His poems and short fiction have appeared in journals such as RavensPerch, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, White Wall Review, The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Flying Island Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Toho Journal and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Finishing Line Press has just published his book of short stories, Red Mountain Cut. Steve has also enjoyed an interesting parallel career in the restaurant and wine business for the past 25 years. He is graduate of Wabash College and a member of the Indiana Writers Center.