Written by Gabriella Troy


nana told me that 
the water would never boil
if i watched the kettle,
if i didn’t let the kettle
fill with pride on its own,
that the kettle couldn’t sing
if my glare withered its flames.
the red kettle burst
on my stove last night
because i stared with something
worse than a glare.

the kettle has never been fragile.
i have dented the kettle
and chipped away its paint.
i have doused its flames
with my midnight tears
and choked its song
with my self-destructive fumes.
the kettle never falls
from the burner, and
the kettle never fails to
keep my mind awake.

nana never told me that
watching the kettle with
the envy of a bubbling purpose,
with the dependence of a child
led carefully across the street,
would feed the kettle too much.
she never told me that 
too much tea would burn
me away to brittle bones
and leave me branded as 
the one without enough fire.

i thought the kettle could share
its warmth and lift me higher
on its steam. But the kettle burned 
ever brightly as tea exploded 
from its spout. I should have known
that the kettle’s song could be replaced
by my screams, that screams were all 
i ever sang, and the kettle 
would burst because of it.

no longer should the 
red kettle stand
on my stove.