Perhaps the matches were damp, steadfast flames
didn’t burn in teardrop shapes, the ones I lit
sputtered, went out, and I never could claim
perfect mastery over fire, or matchsticks.
There was no moving warmth, except the burn –
fierce in my pot, but that was more like acid,
salt sharp, shrivelling – it took years to learn
that only certain fires warm relationships.
The ones I struck fluttered the wrong colour
saffron and not crimson, blue and not brick
if they caught at all, burnt lower and duller
the spectrum just not mainstream attractive.
But they’re also fine. This salt being a misfit.
Flames that burn short. Alone. And damp matchsticks.