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Candlelight by Amanda Auchter
published in Volume 10, Issue 1 on June 1st, 2003

A match strikes. The white flame
dips into an open mouth . clean,
blank, sleeping. The black tongue

curls upward in repose, rough edges
cracking with soot, then flicker,
spark, and rise. It is a quiet voyeur

in a room, dancing upon walls,
twirling shadows down curtains,
across the floor, dark, light,

passing over a face, a book,
breaking into a half moon
of yellow glare. The jagged

fire bobs above the pool of wax,
the sweat carving rings of age
around and around, down, down,

melting and then out, silent, gray
ghost trails into the night, cough,
sputter, spent.

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