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The House on Fire
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You asked for directions to where we live? We’re in the white Colonial with black shutters, right down the block, on the main drag, next to the dirt road that leads to the pond. You can’t miss it — it’s the house on fire.

Not literally, of course; that would be obvious and dangerous. No, this is a figurative conflagration. We burn from within our walls.

There’s the oft-absent, clueless father with a long fuse. He’s nice when he’s there, but do not light his wick for fear he’ll explode with the force of a large powder keg.

There’s the tippling mother with a harsh word poised permanently on the tip of her tongue. Send a spark in her direction, and you’ll get a searing barrage back.

There’s the hulk of a son who has self-control issues. The slightest flicker, a smoldering glance, the barest hint of heat — it’s all fuel for his flames.

And then there’s me: I’m the sum of all their most lethal parts. I am slow to anger, then fully melt down. My words are like embers that flare to destructive life when worked with an iron poker. My hearth is caked with soot.

The smoke inside this house is suffocating our family, and I fear it is far too late to extinguish the inferno.

But do pay us a visit. We’ll gladly fiddle for you as the charred timbers fall.

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