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85 Fire Makers In the ragged edge of winter, the children tested the chill like naked feet in an unknown pool, then gathering what warmth they could muster, they searched the woods with eyes, familiar with the texture of branches, and found the dry pieces quickly, carrying them cradled in their arms. From the creaking porch, I watched them return like creatures birthed among the twisted trunks, haloed by their rising breaths, the leaves crackling underfoot. And always, the flame would fade only when the last lesson was learnt; before the twilight six-mile trek to the predictable labors of home. “How much further, m’am?” “Not much further, child, just beyond the bend.” ...

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