When I was 11, we learned about fire fighters / about how many are just volunteers / and so me, a kid, raised my kid-hand / and asked my kid-question / “why would anyone like volunteer to almost die every day?” / and so my teacher responded “well, / somebody has to.”

I am 20 now / and we are taught in science labs / to place fire blankets over flames if something combusts. / For the last three years I have looked in the mirror / considered myself a Fire Man / perpetually burning / trying to find my blanket. / And the first time I try oxy / it feels like someone is stuffing a comforter inside of my head / like it knows of the wildfire i never volunteered to be submerged in.

The week we learned about fire fighters / a kid in my class got sent to the principal’s office / for drawing himself on fire / said that’s what he thought a Fire Man was / said that’s what his dad looks like when he drinks / said he was taught to put a blanket on a fire to put it out / so when his dad is open-mouthed unconscious, he always covers him up.

Addiction feels like being tucked in / continuously cushioning the fall of myself / addiction feels like filling in a grave but still finding ways to become emptier than before / being exhumed while everyone watches / can always see who is Burning too. / Ever met another Fire Man and offered another blanket? / Something to fill up this living mouth? / There were days I couldn’t walk two blocks without someone offering another Comfort / another pill / another drink —

Sometimes addiction feels like the soft smolder of a lover / the incredible mouth-water from across the room / the interlocking fingers of The One Who Got Away / and I am so sick about it / just want to be held in the soft embrace of a heart beat / want to feel at home in a pool of dark liquor / lay down in a thick haze and feel more loved than any person has ever had the capacity to love me.

I am 20 now / and have taken in so much smoke / that I am floating away / evaporating into thin air. / Had so much drink in me / that my rosacea looked like all the burns in my throat. / Dissociation comes from trauma / and although I am not the one who has done the most damage to my body / I have done it often enough that I consider myself a threat / a Fire to Put Out. / So when my body asks why I keep trying cover it up / each Blanket whispers “well, / somebody has to”

When the fire fighters came to our school / to give a demonstration on how to leave a house that is filled with smoke / my teacher wrote me up for sitting inside and basking in it / said I was supposed to escape the fire not become it / told her I couldn’t put anything out without a blanket / and so i inhaled,,