Playing With Matches

Our ancestors domesticated Fire,
carrying it into their caves,
giving it many names.
Inheriting the fascination,
I honored my incendiary lineage
by striking matches in my little-boy bed,
elated with mastery of the dancing genie.

An amazed magician,
I held each one
as long as possible,
blowing them out
just before
flame reached fingertips—
'til accidentally dropping one,
and kindling the covers.

My cries brought Annie, the babysitter,
who smothered the blaze, then
used her hand to
warm the behind of
this proper child
of Prometheus