better safe than sorry. by Cindy Lynn Brown, followed by Souvenir, by the same

How many wasps can I light
in one go with a flamethrower?
will their wings burn first
their bodies falling
like New Year’s fireworks to the ground
or will the swarm disappear
in one mighty swoosh

my pace my skin speckled with stings
mirrors on the walls against sneaky
scamming and surprise parties
I fear strangers
never kiss anyone but myself

my pace my spit

throw dead wasps at the screen
my lips my decision:
with or without pollen
with or without tongue
caps lock or heart-eyed emoji

my pace my reflection

when it darkens the mirrors become redundant
at dusk I dwell by the backdoor
with my flamethrower


the burn my only souvenir
the only thing I’ll bring with me
the waves in my forehead
zigzag braid tangle as if we were to swim
in saltwater who can swim in darkness
who can cross the desert without water
the ocean without a handle
a pier where time rewinds until we succeed
without thirsting drowning sprinting
our human bodies full of water
delicate balance a splash when we meet
I am fire you are air
air nourishes fire, air sucks light from fire
             extended fingers
together we produce burns
in our hungry skin

Cindy Lynn Brown is a Danish/American poet living in Denmark, she has published nine books and been translated into numerous languages. She is also the organizer of an international poetry festival in Odense, Denmark.