In Memorial Light by Ashley N. Melucci

In Memorial Light

I.

Our can glowed—
stabbed and rusted and burnt—
a many-eyed monster
grinning where it bowed
from nightly embers ignored.

Its hair licking autumnal air;
its heat searing our frosted cheeks;
its stench, laced with a sweet charred musk,
stinging our noses and tickling our throats
as brothers and fathers built fires
to simulate the summer sun.

Trees painted by chill
reminded us
how boring bliss can be,
as their ochres and umbers danced
in undulating light and shadow.

Naked branches creaked
as their dying leaves
rustled in the wind
and whispered
There is beauty in death too.

II

I wish You could hear it now,
and taste the sweet musk on his tongue,
but your mouth and lungs are filled
with petrol fumes as you
pour more into the tin,
over memories given life—
dancing in firelight.

Your eyes lost in their recital,
and mind long-rotted by
crystalized bliss—
drifted to slugfooted summers
when our Statue would smile.

But smiles fall,
and laughter’s drowned
by roaring fires
and rustling leaves.

III

Please,
Swallow
the unbearable
heat.

Let it sear
your lips,
your tongue,
your throat.

Let it tango
on your blood,
turning guts and bone
to fertile ash,
or smoke-shrouded memories
will gnaw at your body’s warmth—
your bones
brittle,
creaking in
crystalized blood—
as frost will coat your eyes
glistening in firelight.

Ashley N. Melucci grew up on Long Island, New York. While attaining her BA in Cultural Anthropology at CUNY Hunter College, she lived in New York and studied abroad for one year in the Netherlands. Currently, she lives in Prague, the Czech Republic, and will soon move to the UK to continue her studies at the University of Manchester. Her works have been accepted by Typehouse Literary Magazine and published in The Fiction Pool.

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