how to burn [a heart of] water

you say water
douses fire
until a kettle arrives,
& you make water leave the sea,
the well, the jug, or wherever
to find a home in the belly of the kettle;
then you set the kettle on fire.
at first, the water is unaware;
it lays there still,
thinking maybe the sun is up again
& then it begins to sweat.
it begins to writhe. it begins to sing a song of agony with a scream— a sound like the coming of war.
when you hear this, you know you are burning the water now.
but be careful how you taunt the water
because water begins to burn skins
when fire burns it.
& isn’t this what happens
when a man is pushed to the walls
& hell enters into his body?
you never know a man can be a raging sea
till your lips of fire burn his heart of water.

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