Small Blaze in a Roaring Fire
by Amalou Ouassou (Morocco)
Audio: "Small Blaze in a Roaring Fire," read by Amalou Ouassou
My grandpa’s house rose up
in smoke that domed like psychedelic
mushrooms or dark hot air balloons
towards the horizon, pink as the flames.
It used to be at the edge of the forest.
We think it was a lit cigarette
flicked off the wrist of a driver, racing past,
coughing up puffs from engine and mouth.
It must have fallen on the crisp yellow
grass and dry December weeds
that have seen few drops of rain
since the month of July.
Must have set it ablaze like a witch’s burning
at the stake, after a countdown
of crackling grass blades that inflated
into the roar of witnessing branches.
Witness the cries of the woods and the house.
The walls turned to ash.
The furniture turned to ash.
My grandpa’s only picture from when he was a lad
is somewhere on the ground, turned to ash.
The cold distance that stretched
like melting Antarctica between my house
in Rabat, and Australian woods,
and Californian hells rose like mountains of ash,
flung into my mouth with the weight
of years churning with fuel that
darkened the clouds. The clouds now loom like acid
threats. And even the acid drops
won’t deign to fall on the branch
that the pheasant lost,
on the glade that the toad and cactus lost,
on the voice-filled house, now voiceless
and dead and lost,
on tomorrow's parched up tongue
hanging for a lick of the sky’s offering
like a weary dog waiting for its bad ending.
Amalou Ouassou, 19, is a poet and writer from Rabat, Morocco. He was a part of the 2021 Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience program.
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9/24/22, 2:13 PM
Was this inspired by flights over Iceland?
9/24/22, 10:04 AM
Amazing. I love it.
9/23/22, 7:34 AM
This is just so good!!!! "The air has been poisoned' I love how you describe things! Congrats :))
9/23/22, 7:32 AM
Love the message! The way you prompt the readers to rethink over 'is anything free' is so effective and the ending is...gorgeous.
9/23/22, 7:30 AM
Gosh, Antara...this is really beautiful! I love your use of language, and the anecdotes were so effective!! Congrats so much :))
9/22/22, 9:30 PM
I love it! Especially the part where you say if humans can control the world, they can control themselves too!
Keep up the brilliant writing!
9/22/22, 5:22 PM
Poignant and so beautifully written!
9/22/22, 5:19 PM
I love the flow, this is gorgeously written! Great piece!
9/22/22, 5:17 PM
Life really is all about the little things and you wrote about them in a beautiful way!
9/22/22, 5:16 PM
This is a lovely piece, Keren-Happuch! It provokes such a magical and dreamy feeling.
9/19/22, 5:47 PM
Oh my god, the part about changing the mindset given the pre-existing beliefs drilled in by those around us... Even we often hesitate to have these conversations at times amongst friends as this topic is seldom more than a subject of twss jokes. You put it into words brilliantly!
9/17/22, 6:46 PM
this was thought-provoking! I particularly enjoyed how you connected existentialism to the topic. it provides a different perspective.