Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

20 January 2023

Every fire

Each morning I wake, put on my rubbery boots, and gather wood and kindling from the shelter in the garden.

At the stove, I clean the ashes out from the previous day.

I make a sandwich of paper, kindling, cardboard, more paper. I light it bottom to top.

In some configurations I know this will go well, but it doesn't always; the fire can be colicky, slow to take.

Every fire is a different fire. Each has its own temperament, its own way of being coaxed into autonomy. I start it off with soft foods, then move on to progressively bigger, harder comestibles. 

It will spend its first hour toddling, needing careful attention—a spare ear or eye forever monitoring its condition, even as I prepare breakfast, stretch, start my computer. By afternoon it will seem more confident, but experience knows this is not the case; left to its own for an hour, it could be dead-cold, not an ember left to revive it.

Every fire is a different fire. My job is to forget the nature of the one that accompanied me yesterday. I spend the day weaving my attention to it, hoping that by nightfall it will be fully its own, raging hot and radiating, dangerous in its certainty.

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