Poetry: “Holiday Advisory” by Jude Marr

A Christmas candle is still a candle if you light it any other day.

When the power goes out, a candle gives off enough light to let a person feel they still exist.

A candle is always dangerous. Strike a match. The smallest spark is potential conflagration.

A cigarette can be Christmas if you spray it with glitter.

Smoking a cigarette for company, I make a matchstick forest, burying unsulfured ends in sand.

I light my last cigarette with a resurrected match. What day is today?

I am not spent yet. There is enough friction left in me to start a small fire.

I am not an arsonist, only a seeker after light.

If I spray glitter on my skin, does that make me complicit?

When I sleep head-to-toe with my charred remains, the smell of sulfur surrounds us and keeps us safe.

My last candle has melted into a puddle.

In the theater of my room, shadows are more real than mysterious: I can’t decide whether I am actor or audience.

I have three matches left.

I stay in my sandbox because sand puts out fire. Sand also holds back the flood.

The smell of sulfur is all that remains.

Jude Marr is the author of Breakfast for the Birds (Finishing Line, 2017). Other recent credits include Mud City, Black Napkin, and Split This Rock. Jude is a PhD student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and also poetry editor for r.kv.r.y. For more on Jude’s work, or to buy a signed copy of her book, go to judemarr.com. 

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