The Man who petted a fire

I saw a man petting a fire.
He sat on his knees,
His hands empty,
Caressing the flames with his charcoal fingers
And I thought,
I saw a man petting a fire.
I saw him as my rickshaw whooshed by,
I turned and craned to make sure-
The flames, red and pure,
Gasped in response.
The man, indeed, was petting a fire
Like I petted his cheeks
He didn’t gasp, but smiled and it rolled its eyes at me.
But his cheeks were warm.
I had cold charcoal fingers and his cheeks were warm.
An hour ago ,
Of perhaps the next day,
He let go of my hand
He had his phone to hold.
He let go of my hand and I gasped
I was burning from head to toe.
He has beautiful hands,
No charcoal fingers.
I saw a man petting a fire
I heard the fire gasp.
So I drank.

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