Beware the Thin Man

Beware the thin man.
Blue eyes twinkling;
apple cheeks rosy.
Beware the smile,
the easy laugh,
the hair — wispy and grey,
the scruffy clothes.
Beware the intimate talk
the promise of acceptance,
of welcome.

A promise of warmth;
but only a ceramic log fire
seeming cozy and real.
Sham smoke
you can almost smell.
The crackle of flames
you can almost hear.

That’s what he is.

Crimson and orange flickering,
true . . .
but embers cold to the touch,
fire that gives no heat.

Even so, I was cold.
I believed.
Drawing close,
I needed to thaw
my frostbitten core.
Standing too near,
curious
at logs remaining whole
while flames licked
and caressed from every side.
Leaning too far,
risking too much,
I fell . . .
engulfed . . . seared
by an unreal fire.

Third degree burns.

Slowly healing
scar tissue memories.

— Elaine Pedersen ©

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