Things I’ve Burned

by Bethany Jarmul

My skin from sun rays, frying pans, glue guns. Pizza, waiting for its cardboard crust to combust. Burgers in the summer heat, the sweat dripping into my eyes and mouth. Journals scribbled with ink, smudged with tears I shed over boys I no longer loved. Books I already read, but couldn’t let my mother see. Textbooks too, calculus or physics, probably. Marshmallows by the dozens, though I prefer them lightly toasted brown. Many bridges—the Golden Gate Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the London Bridge while falling down. Bridges where it’s greener on the other side, a bridge to nowhere, a bridge to the past, a bridge too far. The bridges that I doused with gasoline to friendships that I craved, from words I said or didn’t say or should’ve, could’ve, can’t believe I spewed that fire from my scaly, dragon mouth, stood back to watch it, crumbling and aflame.

Bethany Jarmul is a writer, editor, and poet. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Spiritual Literature. She earned first place in Women On Writing’s Q2 2022 essay contest. Bethany enjoys chai lattes, nature walks, and memoirs. She lives near Pittsburgh with her family. Connect with her at or on Twitter: @BethanyJarmul.