my son calls out, imagines flame, light
shooting from his hands, Fire mountain.

His hands—My boat is swimming through fire
always unscathed. My great-great-grandmother 

burned her whole right side when a vat
of boiling chenokorka—black-rind, cherry 

preserves—spilled over her skirted thigh, ate
right through the fabric. I imagine her hands 

swimming through fire—sugar and pits—clearing
skin of char. Her daughters would grow 

afraid of boiling, never bring red fruit
to the stove again. Fire, Fire, my son singes 

the air with open palms and asks if I see it.
My great-grandfather must have burned too, 

though none of us saw those flames either.
My boat, Fire, Fire, falling fire. 

When our people’s bodies 

rose too high—My mountain, Fire—the Germans
or Russians or Ukrainians—anyone 

without ashes in their blood—discovered
burning always makes more room. 

They named the dead 

a waste of space inside the earth, my ancestors,
a certain waste above it. But burned, we became 

fertilizer—compressed or blown away—lingering
in soil and air—eternal, unnoticed—

in my son’s hands—Fire, Fire.