It is my birthday and I am away with strangers and friends in the
bush. We stay in little wooden huts brought over on a boat
from Poland in the 1940s. Fire pit, communal kitchen, large
elaborate meals, many children, many dogs. By the third day the
children have gone wild and the dogs are exhausted. They
play desultorily in the ancient dirt.
By the third day the children have gone wild and they hang two soft toys
in the trees.
One of the parents is disturbed. The rest of us let them have
it. They are playing with death. The toys, a skinny-limbed
monkey and a fat pink elephant, are dust covered and dank.
The toys swing lightly in the September wind. The children
find long sticks and belt the toys repeatedly. The monkey
loses its left leg, and then its right. It is a dirtwet torso,
head, and arms. At the end of the stay I find one of its severed
limbs, dogchewed and soggy, near the fire pit. The fire pit is
where I spend three days. Tending. Keeping the coals hot.
Bathing in ash. Not nearly fast enough to climb along
kindling and paper, licking wood and eating the aching air.
Is this fast enough. Is fire fast enough. Is that how to write