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.

  7. derek Stephens says:

    no joke i thought this poem was about conjoined twins and how one of them was struggling. im probably wrong though.

  8. Grant James says:

    I think this poem is about a white angalo saxon male who is struggling with his tatoo dilema (mamma wont come out of her bedroom because she is addicted to online gambling) and has trouble dancing at school.

  9. Sheena says:

    I thought this poem explained a lot because it shows how this girl or narrator is suffering through so much, and her mom or whoever is a authority figure is not there to help them with it or explain things. As I was reading this poem it felt that everything was jumbled because of the lack of punctuation, but it also adds to the poem because it shows how jumbled the narrators life or mind is.

  10. zach says:

    this poem i think talks about a boy whos mother isn’t there for him and that he talks about his suicide a “going to a dance ” and ” getting dressed up”. He is almost preparing for death and makes it so casual

  11. Katie says:

    This poem is very informative and when it says and “momma’s in the bedroom
    with the door closed”
    that means that her mom’s dead and her the bedroom is her coffin and her door is the lid.

  12. Ricky says:

    I like your poem it tells alot being diffrent

  13. Everee says:

    I’m a very understanding person and i see where you comin from in this poem. Seems like you didnt have anywhere to turn and you thought your life was goin to end soon then you thought. Well i hope nobody’s feeling the way this poem is.

  14. liljj says:

    good peom but i dont get y u kept sayin my mom is in the room with the door shut like it dowkeep it up

  15. Sharaina Troop says:

    Its kind of complex at first but then, I read it 3 times and then I kind of understood it.

  16. Antonio moore says:

    I like this poem. what im felling is that the author is feeling low and he or she feels as if they are poor and worthless. This poem has the poetry terms assonance and imagery in it which helped me invision the author going through those types of problems

  17. Chad says:

    i though it was a good poem it makes you think of ur own life of what you all have an what this child all has. It sounds like he dont have alot because what he all say

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Then poem was okay :]

  19. Elizabeth says:

    This poem was okay :]

  20. Kaitlyn says:

    i thought the poem was very good i liked it alot. and it explaned alot about his life and some of the stuff she is going though and about how his mom was always in her room and he might never get to see her

  21. Kaitlyn says:

    i thought the poem was very good i liked it alot. and it explaned alot about his life and some of the stuff he is going though and about how his mom was always in her room and he might never get to see her

  22. Alisha says:

    in this poem there was a cupple of misspelled words oyher that tha it was an alright poem…i liked it…

  23. jIM says:

    It is a lower case s

  24. Dalton Linder says:

    There is a miss spelled word in the poem. its supposed to be “suppose i die before graduation” it is on this page “Suppose i de before graduation” shame shame

  25. fred says:

    This poem displays the internal conflict a young woman is having when she he realizing her sexuality. She feels that she is a victim of injustice and that she is misrepresented as a woman because she has no role model or guidance on any level so she has no idea what to expect in any case. She tries to seek comfort from naive sources but finally realizes the injustices and begins to semi understand herself.

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