For Zuko

By Dave Harris

Yes, I too have known fire. And yes,
I too have wondered if I come from
a burnt people. A people who have always
been ablaze. I too have hated my own hands
And yes, I too have been prince to a kingdom of folk
and then dishonored them. I have worn a white mask.
I have cut my hair to look less like me. I too
have sought to be anything other than the ashes

of another man’s sin. I have tried to earn my existence
in a nation that would not claim me. I have scorched
the ones who care most. I have searched the countryside
to find something I always had.

And yes, I too have been unworthy of my mother’s love.
And yes, I too have known the right thing to do
and done otherwise. I too have been a refugee
and a product of my tribe. Yes, I am still running.

I too am afraid of being a good man. And yes, I too
have been beaten by water until it felt like a baptism.
And yes, I too would burn the whole forest down
just to feel the warmth against my skin.

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