Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Human Matchstick

by Amit Parmessur

Kneeling in a circle of Holy water,
I light a matchstick, with a wicked piranha smile.
The matchstick doesn’t obey the maverick in me;
I re-light it after a deep exhalation
to burn a gamut of vivid memories,
holding the fierce flame upright
like a valiant man sliding down The Death Road.
I fix the vacillating flame,
imagining you to be a burning matchstick,
watching your long-awaited cremation.
I pour out my deepest bitterness
in a sudden stream of sugary tears
and I almost spit on the flame,
only to realize I cannot
reduce your pain with even my saliva.
I watch the matchstick’s head burn, slowly,
as if your doomed skull turning black,
bending in front of me in sheer shame
and in its dying moments I can hear
the matchstick whisper desperately to me.
What is it? I won’t ever say.
You are a burnt street lamp,
from an African slum but the taste of
my own wound suddenly appears too salty
for me to smile again.

© 2011 Amit Parmessur

Amit Parmessur, for someone who hated poetry, has been accepted for the past six months by over 65 magazines, including Ann Arbor Review, Burnt Bridge, Calliope Nerve, Catapult to Mars, Clockwise Cat, Clutching at Straws, Damazine, Gloom Cupboard, Heavy Hands Ink, LITSNACK, Mad Swirl, Red Fez, The Literary Burlesque, Shot Glass Journal and The Scrambler. As long as he gets published he knows that he is going in the right direction.

Find more by Amit Parmessur in the Author Index.

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