The flame’s reflection on the television was so crisp like it was real and soon the stereo was on fire. Then the couch would light up and the smell would at least be pleasant, with strawberry and skunk meandering. But to watch flesh burn, it is such a distortion, an abstraction. It is so far from divine image that perhaps lighting up isn’t worth the reflection in the television. By the time I’ve taken a bottle of cream, smooth white down my throat, it’s too late. The stereo is on fire, and hell begins to twist loose in apartment seven. I wonder if the neighbors can smell it? Do they like the taste of tar? Maybe it’s their addiction, they grind tar in between their chocolate squares just for a bit of the taste. It gets them off during stressful hours of studying, when the adderall isn’t enough. I don’t think I would come back to see what was left. I’d probably just leave for Canada, like we planned and start selling, drinking, not attending school. I remember when the tapestry dispersed in black tissue paper like drifting, weightless snowflakes in the snow globe of my living room. It was a pity; you tie-dyed it back when you were a boy. One time I started a fire, a small one, my mom put it out with an extinguisher we had in the kitchen. We had gotten this gun in Texas, it was a toy sort-of, it had shot fire though. I was playing with it on the porch and lit the bush in front of the house. My mom was shrieking as she put it out, but we ended up getting to keep the gun. I’m not sure if this really happened or not, some memories I can no longer distort from reality.

Image credit:Walt Stoneburner

Jess Kangas is a strawberry siren poet located in North Carolina. Her poetry is rich in sound, structure and secrets. A former New Yorker in the South, she has been featured in Califragile, PoetryCircle and Open Arts Forum.