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Ibim, what have you done! 

Your mother screamed as she rushed to carry you. She looked at the last pages of her journal as the flames in the hearth eat them up and notices how you ogle at it. She shakes her head, children and curiosity, she mutters.

Mother was wrong. You weren’t just curious, you had and still have a thing for fire. In other places, you would see a therapist but where you’re from, it’s demonic oppression. You love the feel of flames on your skin and the scars on your hands look good to you.

At 8, you had burnt all of Mother’s books, in art class you drew nothing but flames. When you burnt down the house at 12, you were sent far away but had to be brought back when you fell terribly ill. You were left to your demons and you burnt every little thing, secretly.

girl on fire by adesigntoremember

You sit in the woods and watch the house burn. You couldn’t control your joy when you got the anonymous call to set the house ablaze. You did this for a living. At 25, you are wanted for arson. Even the authorities would be shocked to see the petite lady who burnt down things.

You had set the house ablaze and even though you wanted to stay, you couldn’t. From where you’re sitting, you see two fire trucks pass. It’s a big fire. You grin widely but then it fades when you hear a woman who’s being restrained from running, scream. 

A child. A nanny. 

Sick. Stayed home. It can’t be! You thought there was no one home.

You run home and make a call; 

‘Man, you never told there was a child!’


Her punishment?! WTF! How could you be this mean!! 

The line goes dead. Your breath catches in your throat.


You step into your barn and undress. Petrol on your skin, you start a fire. You sit in it and breathe in. It would be hours later people see flames. By then you’re a bundle of charred flesh.

–  Ude Ugo

30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachị is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.

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