The Fire People
We’ve turned our walks into finding things
that catch fire easily, like us
our fascination with bush craft—
how to survive in a forest
without the conveniences
we have at home
the first human to discover fire
rubbed two stones together
friction is a good thing.
we have fun starting fires
scratching the Mora knife against the small iron rod
sending sparks into a nest of dried grass and fibrous barks
you put out the flame with the sole of your hiking boot
so we can begin, again
by the time we leave the forest,
we’ve discovered deer poo combusts easily
human hair doesn’t
I’ve given a lock and you’ve won the bet
By the time we leave
we’ve lost count of the fires we’ve started.
Copyright © 2015 Mildred Barya. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Quarterly. Reprinted with permission of the author.