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The speaker of "Hanging Fire" is a 14-year-old girl who shares her thoughts, fears, and worries with us. She bounces around from topic to topic. At one moment, she's worrying about her appearance (her braces, her ashy knees) and the next, she's worrying about much bigger issues, like death. Adding to her anxiety, throughout the poem the speaker repeatedly tells us that her mom's "in the bedroom / with the door closed."