Issue No. 11, Winter 2014

C.J. Harrington

Snow-threatened Sunday, the first of advent,
the usual image intrudes in her news feed.
Him. His goblet rimmed in sugar or salt
(impossible to tell in grayscale). A festive
scene so three of cups, but even sideways
his eyes know: she is blindfolded, bound
in a tight semi-circle of swords.

It’s not the end of the world, it’s the north
end of town, this place where she lives amidst
floating aroma of factory apples, feral
kittens (the black one hissed once) whose
parents are tire-smashed corpses she finds
in no-turn-on-red intersections.

The neighbors are inside. Their pool covered,
music dimmed. Now trees shudder free
last leaves. Branches slash gray tangles into
an empty sky. She has nowhere to go. Strikes
a match. Lights her only candle. It has one
repeated word, encircling: love.

C.J. Harrington lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Blast Furnace, Metazen, The Vehicle, Gone Lawn, The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2014, and other publications.