A catalyst

The flamboyant flame stands before me,
framed by garish smoke rising
to meet an aloof sky. The crackling embers —
embarrassed to be seen laying down
on the job — pop out of sight,
making way for flashier lights.

The bonfire demands to be seen, illuminating
places undiscovered, too dark to survey.
Is it possible my caustic humor burns
those who venture too close? Do I dare
take stock of myself now — already gray —
biding time ’til I pop where I lay?

Perhaps, as winds breathe smoke
unexpectedly back in our faces,
I merely shift my perspective.
There’s magic in turning sticks into wands