by Estelle Bruno

It was such a nice front porch to play my stories in.
I would play being teacher.
Would extend my index finger at an imaginary boy and
sternly say "John Amar you're the limit."
I loved doing that part, think I imitated my teacher very well.

Papa would sit in a large chair in front of the windows, six of them,
smoking his cigars.

One day I saw flashes of red flames all over the windows.
When Papa lit his cigar with those wooden match sticks
one must have broken off and flew up onto the window curtains. 
The entire porch was in flames.
I screamed for Mama.  She rushed into the porch and pulled all
of the curtains down, stamping on the flames till they died out.
I never knew if she burned her feet and legs.

I didn't play school anymore.