When we meet, it’s through glass:
each time reminiscing
about our rickety bunkbeds,
escaped painted turtles,
the knockdown drag-outs
no one cared to stop.
When I leave he writes letters—
yellow paper with birds and hearts
and my name in a font he made
just for me. Sometimes,
I pull out each letter to re-read
what he’s had for dinner,
which books he’s finished,
how many push-ups he’s done,
and remind myself to persist: we are
What if you pop a vein?
What if you pick up another
dirty needle, launch a blood clot
straight to your heart?
What if you crash your car
again—or worse, the Harley
Dad left you—turn it
to scrap metal?
What if you stop breathing
on another sticky floor or under
the Kensington Bridge,
the lawless land.
What if you forget the fires we’ve seen,
how we fought them, and I am left
here to remember it all
on my own?
How To Carry Fire
Conjure every fire you have ever read about—
London’s gutting, Brisbane’s breadless
factory, Boston’s burning. Remember
your aching home, the leftovers
of your childhood journals flaking
in the hot shell of your bedroom.
Bring these to a furnace at the front, stoke
with the poker your father pressed into
your mother’s neck. Take what those flames
can give you. Feel heat enter your stomach.
Stay wary now. You must never let the light
go out. Keep it lit until you learn to glow.
Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her work has featured in over 40 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, The Interpreter’s House and more. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017 and her second collection, How To Carry Fire, is forthcoming with the same press in 2020. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.