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Published in 2018 when she was only seventeen, Emily Seggio's "Why We Play With Fire" invites readers to travel through five years' worth of reflecting on passion, heartache, and forgiveness.

In this powerful poetic debut, she offers a collection of poetry as she embarks on her journey of self-discovery. After selling thousands of copies internationally, this anthology can be found at Barnes and Noble,, and several other booksellers. 

Join Emily Seggio in her coming-of-age exploration of the beauty and bittersweetness of life.



My mother is a warrior woman.

Born of Cuban blood, I was raised on the lullabies of liberation.

Cradled by my grandmother who fed me Arroz con Leche and guava pastries,

always promised that the world would dance at my fingertips,

as long as my hands were dipped in ambition.

Female strength was never lacking in my youthful eyes.

My first sight of the world was that of my single mother

carrying the load of both a woman and man.

She held a wooden spoon just as easily as she held a hammer.

She taught me that soft hands are just as useful as strong ones,

that the world could always use a little more good.

I observed her and her way about the world, and it inspired me to write.

The pen has yet to leave my hand ever since.

My father was a bull of a man.

His eyes, one of the only things I carry of him as my own,

were the softest things about him.

Thunder always rang in his throat when he faced opposition.

He had lightning for fists to hide a heart that I swear, despite it all, can still be gentle.

He didn't have the empowering dawn to life I was so fortunately gifted.

The son of an Irishman,

raised on the idea that blood, sweat, and tears build a sturdy foundation for manhood.

He learned that gentle hands were weak ones,

and to never let soft-touch linger long enough to sting.

He found his refuge at the bottom of a bottle of poison,

and he taught himself to disguise tender tendencies with blankets of a drunken haze.

He spent so many nights wearing the mask of this man,

letting him kiss the moon and claim the stars as his lovers, he let it engulf his entirety.

I learned early on the dangers of liquid venom.

I saw how it infected not only my father, but everyone around him.

My mother rarely speaks of her father,

of his eyes that she carries as her own.

I have learned that we often step in the footprints of those who hurt us,

we follow the destruction in their wake.

We cling to the scraps of hope on their despairing bones

and pray that we can mend together all their worn pieces,

as if love can stitch wounds that have bled their souls dry for centuries.

We often forget that the almighty saviors are self-derived.

We cannot ease the ache of unfulfillment

by seeking another body to pour that devotion into.

We will always blame the man who hurt us then,

because it's the same man who hurts us now.

Just in different, younger skin.

But I will not be a casualty of my circumstance.

My father has gifted me a lion's jaw,

but I am not constrained to roar in fear as he does.

I will step forth with a confidence that the ground will be forgiving beneath me.

Because in this world of razor edges,

I will teach my hands to still be gentle.

I will show this world that I am far more than just my bloodstream.

Because my mother is a warrior woman.

And so am I.