I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his tumb
in secret
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before the morning comes
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance
in time for the next party
my room is too small for me
suppose I de before graduation
they will sing sad melodies
but finally
tell the truth aout me
There is nothing I want to do
and too much
that has to be done
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team
my marks were better than his
why do I have to be
the one
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Audre Lorde's poem Hanging Fire


  1. Sarah says:

    actually, we can relate to it….no ones perfect.

  2. Spoonman says:

    i think the girl is suicidal because she’s going threw puberty and shes got acne and braces-not to mention shes ignored by her mother.That thought goes good with the title of “hanging fire” because i get the feeling she’s like two seconds away from killing herself and is thinking these things

  3. Alexis says:

    I think this poem is about this 14 year old girl who is worried about her life. I think that she is overthinking her life a little too much. Whenever it says “momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed” I think that means that her mom is never there for her. I have to resite this poem for my class tomorrow (April 26, 2010)and it is for a grade…

  4. kacy says:

    i think this poem is about girl that is growing up before she is suppose to. i believe the boy that sucks his thumb in secrect is her brother and she is jealous of him because hes on the math team and shes not. i dont think her mother takes that greatest care of them and so she is forced to be the mother of her younger brother while her mom for some reason is in the bedroom with the door closed. ((meaning that the mother is never home and when she does come finally decide to come home she is either a drunk or a dead beat mom)) i think the girl is going threw puberty. she says, “my skin has betrayed me” which would make since she 14 which means… ZITS… if her mom didnt talk to her about anything she would have no clue what was happening to her. she keeps saying what if i die before i wake or before graduation. i agree that she is not suicidal but she doesnt understand what is going on in her life and she has no one to look up to so she feel neglected and feels like the world may stop spinning. she has no time to be a child for if she is who will be there for her brother. she is only angered by him because he has the chance to live his life while she is forced into a silent repolsive world of adulthood. [for i too am a 14 year old girl who often feels the same way…]

  5. an says:

    This poem is about the feeling of a girl in her puberty. She worries about her appearance, about responsibility(what need being done but has not been done) and how she was mistreated in her class; the third paragraph seems like she wants to say that because she is a girl, she is not supposed to be on the Math team, even though her grade is higher than some boy. All those things are overwhelming for a little girl, especially when she doesn’t receive any support from her mom, who, seems to her, is always behind the close door of her bedroom. She also feels lost and depressed because she cannot she where will she go in her life. She doesn’t have a role model, the close support of her mother. When she say what if i die, Maybe she is thinking about she is turned away by the whole world; no one cares about her existence. If she doesn’t have any meaning to her mother, then to whom she has a meaning to.

  6. darine says:

    The poem reveals the absurdity of this girl’s life. She is insecure about her physique,she is neglected and has no one to turn to,her mother is in the other room, oblivious to what her daughter is going through,there is some kind of disconnection from reality.It is deep and leaves you with sad feelings and thoughts.

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