In a gun the main propellant charge needs energy supplied as heat, before it will react and burn. The heat is supplied by the ignitor system that consists of a type of propellant that requires little energy to burn, but is therefore less safe.
A single spark:
an unwashed coffee cup,
a stray lipstick smear
and Maureen ignites
yelling hot gases,
spitting hot particles,
that inundate the chamber.
There is nowhere to avoid her words
as they kindle the inert:
Steve sprawled on the settee
is irritated into reacting,
venting his defence
with blistering denials, scorching rebuttals:
“I said I’d do it later”,
“It was the boss’s wife, I couldn’t avoid it”,
raising the temperature of the heated atmosphere
until the entire chamber burns.
Clare Knock is a university lecturer teaching and researching in physics. She has been published in Ink Sweat and Tears and Lighthouse.