Fire Dance

(by Linda Barton)

Bhutan, November 2000

The young boy
Maybe seven grabbed my hand
In the dark
Held it tight
Tighter than I have ever been held
He led me through a small gate
We were crushed and
I worried for him
His size
I wondered why me
He wanted something from me
Not what I had expected
But to tell me to
Go slow
Be careful and watch for my life
His body shook and I knew
He feared for his
I moved slowly
He pulled me past the others
Another way
He ran dragging my feet
Over craters and voices
After a lifetime
He left me dangling like
Wilted irises
People swimming around me
Pushing yelling in firelight
He evaporated in darkness
To run through the burning wall
Into the Dance
Our hands never met again
The smell of smoke
Hangs like a skirt
Made of questions I cannot ask

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