You covered yourself in kerosine. Grabbed a box of matches. Took one out. Even as a child I saw through the act, knew it wasn’t a real threat, just an immature cry for attention. Another way to breed fear in all of us. One more way to get our mother to look at you and not us, to pick you over us. Beg for your life over her own no matter how many times you’d tried to take it. That night included. She got on her knees in front of you and I had the urge to take the match from your hand, light it and let it ignite against your skin. Even if it killed us all. So long as my mother’s suffering would stop. So long as she was off her knees, and you were the one screaming in pain for once, begging for your life for once. So long as the fire allowed my mother to feel the warmth she never got from your touch.
Jasmine Griffin is an emerging black queer author. Jasmine currently serves as the Adult Program Manager at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati. Jasmine was recently published in Eunoia Review, Genre: Urban Arts, and Cleaning up Glitter. She received her MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. In 2022, Jasmine was selected as a Voodoonauts fellow. In 2020 she participated in AWP’s Writer to Writer Mentorship program as a mentee of Maisy Card, debut author of These Ghosts Are Family and was also a Pitch Wars mentee paired with YA author Aiden Thomas who’s best known for, Cemetery Boys.
Header photography and artwork by Jordan Keller-Wilson