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Dear Descendant, Smoke

Pa has different names for fires

         thang bun
         thang plieh
         thang ingkhong
         thang iong
         thang khlaw

I am a girl and don't know much about fire

       how to burn it
       how to see it light up
       how to control it
       how pine needles flare
       how a bigger fire is stopped
       how to fight fire

In dry winter,
His childhood
He and his friends
Would walk into the forest
Fighting fire
Slash and burn
For things to grow

A practice slowly fading out
Because the fires are fought
Before the sowing can make sense
Because the fire is fought for the economy 
       monocultures of broom
       monocultures of pineapples
       monocultures of tea
       monocultures of ginger
       monocultures of turmeric

The smoke feels wrong now
And the knowledge slowly dying

The only embers I used to light were tubes 
Thin paper tubes of tobacco
A sprinkling of green flower for the purple haze
I've stopped smoking since I turned 25
Not so much that I was controlling the embers
Just trying to control myself

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