Four young women, circling warily,

muttering to themselves, eyes lowered.

All intent on the blackness before them.

A quick flick of the wrist, the crackle of flame.

WHOOSH. One cackle, high pitched shrieks.

Three neophytes fight to tame the angry fire.

A slight of hand reveals the sacrifice,

turning the flame unnatural orange.

It leaps and plays, revelling in its colors

before dying back to a sedate blue heat.

A small greyish strip nervously cast in.

Supernova. An eye-searing glare.

A glow of pink through blue glass.

'Bring it closer' three hoarse voises whisper.

The fourth obeys, drawing near the fire.

'Oohhh' wordless worship of natural mysteries,

four figures in black babysitting a childlike star.

Watching it grow and flare…jade…lime…green?

'That's not right' 'No' 'That can't be'

'What is that unearthly stench?' 'Shhhhh'

Primordeal blackness oozing into the fire,

corrupting its spontaneuosly cheerful purity.

Rubber flesh melting, forsaking metal bones.

The smell of squealling tires, of sudden stops.

'Oops.'

A burst of profanity, sudden as a spark,

Kindling the crisp dryness of harvested hay.

A Greek chorus of contrite students.

What did we learn today?

Sodium is enchanting, it swims and sparks,

and burns a brilliant autumnal orange.

Magnesium shines as bright as the sun,

And like a stranger you shouldn't stare at it!

Through cobalt glass it glows a pale rose,

A barely blooming delicate color.

And the rubber on lab tongs smells dreadful,

Like all sorts of rotten things.

But it burns all different pretty greens!