living in a fireplace saying, "this is not so bad, this could be so much worse," when the man with grape fingers comes to deliver more wood. hungry as our lives are. famished & in need of good dry timber. my brother & i take turns breathing. find a corner of the structure where air arrives as mice. what i wouldn't give to be a campfire or at least a smoke house. i remind myself i live inside a promised heat. tomorrow the wood floor will blush because of us. the forest outside is a machine for the blaze. taking handfuls of ash & blowing in each other's faces. laughter crackles & pops. i tell my brother he is brave as his head catches fire again, deforesting his skull. we are glossy & molten. i do not actually think me or him are brave. i think we needed a place to live & i think without the fireplace we would just be rotten apples underneath the distractable moon. instead we have light. cut shadows in any backdrop. invent birds with our skeleton fingers & send them to eat everything red & alive. at night when the fire wants to be embers, the man comes breathing on them until they catch again. rest is a planet of fuel. the sun tucking strands of hair behind her ears. my father is not the man but they look almost identical. i ask my brother if he thinks we'll ever leave & he shrugs to say, "we are alive, aren't we?" i am not sure we are but i love him & so i lie to him. i say, "yes, yes we are."