Flickering flames

In a fireplace. The solid, thick log is tended to for a long time before it's heated enough to catch fire. Once it alights, it burns slowly and steadily, radiating a warmth and a dim orange light within the room. Balls of newspaper are thrown in. In contrast, they instantly produce a wild and brilliant flame that is intensely hot. As this flame rapidly dies, the log continues burn and provide heat.

Last year at college, I had the opportunity to play with fire at a fireplace for the first time. I didn't understand why we used the logs instead of bits of tree branches, recycled cardboard, or just the newspapers from each morning. Well, now I do.

Who are you?

Children dressed in white,
Twirling hand in hand,
Innocently at a park.

A woman with painted lips,
A silky silhouette
Moving in the moonlight.

An addictive needle,
Painful and destructive;
Yet unable to live without it.

Best friends whispering secrets,
Sitting side by side,
Sharing and giggling.

A thirsty, weed-filled garden,
Unable to tend to itself,
Draining a lake.

A warm, cozy blanket
Sheltering another,
In true selflessness.

Are these faces all yours?
Or is love one name
For many distinct things?

Love is not an excuse to be possessive, to not let go, to act without thought and rationale, to not see others and the world around you, to be trapped in hopelessness and not pick yourself up. To be like this is not sweet, and is not to love too much. It is to not love at all.

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