Cinderfella, or Pyromaniac

by Rachel Glass

At her fifth birthday party,
Cinderella gazed at the birthday candles
like I gazed at her. I wanted her
to look into my eyes like she
looked into the eyes of the flames.
But I knew she was the girl for me;
with skin hot to touch and
flickering eyes, she would grow up
to be as hot as a flame.

When we were nine,
I proposed to her with
a lit match. She said yes
with eyes burning bright.
Back then, she only wanted
the flame.

Now, more than ten years later,
her flickering eyes have
turned into an inferno
and all she wants is a prince,
the one with too much charm
and even more money.
Not me.

I was the one who got detention
when I was eleven for carrying
matches in school, I convinced
myself that Bonfire Night
was my second birthday
and the fire was my gift of gifts,
I always lit candles in the house
to try and seduce Cinderella
but my tea lights were nothing
compared to the prince’s chandeliers.

My skin is black with ash
and is too hot to touch, my hands
are pink with scars and burns.
Where Cinderella only looked,
I couldn’t help but touch.

I spent two days lighting
every candle in that ballroom.
But Cinderella does not want a fireman.
Cinderella wants a prince.
They dance in the flickering light
that I created; my fingertips burn.
At midnight, she runs home
but the prince has other girls to charm.
I run after Cinderella and find
a glass slipper on the steps.
I hold it.
It turns to ash.