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The Life of a Match
Darrell A. Johnson

      She’s asleep in bed when I get home, her moonlit body cut by razor shadows. Her breaths are like warm, whispered endearments chasing last night’s argument, her jasmine scent like a belated apology. I watch a match’s flame flicker after lighting a cigarette. Rising, swaying, the flame resurrects abandoned waltzes. Her jasmine joins the explosive smell of sulfur, intertwining in a condemning stench. Together they smell like regret, like guilt. Like this adulterous scent I’ve dragged home. Flailing like arms of the drowning, the flame sinks before dying against my fingertips.
      Hate me. Leave me, I think but never say.

Darrell A. Johnson lives in Louisville, KY where he works as a Paramedic. He is a graduate student at the University of Louisville, pursuing a Master’s in English. “The Life of a Match” is his first publication.dajohn80@gmail.com

     Tomorrow, I will act busy, more than others, and see if it lets my day pass, for stale loneliness is worse than meretricious ennui. I will pass fingers through hair, contract lips to form a circular overture and let air pass in a loud hiss—hiss of being busy—and open my drawer to take hand-outs printed earlier for this exact purpose; I may even recline on the chair to keep the handouts above my eyes, to pretend that what I am reading is important, and has levitated to a level that only my lip-pursing and chin-stroking genius can lower.

Tanuj Solanki works in an insurance firm in Bombay. He is 24. His work has been published or is upcoming in online journals such as Yes Poetry, Calliope Nerve, Cartier Street Review, Tin Foil Dresses, and more. He is currently completing a short story collection about fatalism in Indian cities, titled The Bom Bay of Life. He just can’t learn swimming.

John Sheirer

     While she went off to find a new set of bed sheets, he lingered in the bath section. He studied himself in the first mirror, but it was only 3X power. All he saw was the need for a shave. The second was stronger, 5X, but that only revealed a few freckles he didn't know were there. The last mirror was the most powerful. But even in its 10X reflection, he was satisfied that she wouldn't find what he was searching for on his face: guilt for what had caused them to need new bed sheets in the first place.

John Sheirer lives in Northampton, MA, and teaches at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT. His most recent book is the memoir Loop Year: 365 Days on the Trail, winner of the Connecticut Green Circle Award. He can be found here: www.johnsheirer.com.

Barry Basden

     We sit in silence, magazines on our laps, mine last June's Sports Illustrated, yours April's Southern Living. Other times, other places.
     The beige walls groan, compressed by this day, this hour. Cracks may appear momentarily.
     Soon a young Asian woman in green scrubs will walk through that door over by the vending machines.
     Holding test results, she will glide toward us in sensible white shoes, this day not much different from her other days.
     I take hold of your hand and stare across at those machines. No matter
what, I'm going to want a Moon Pie and a big RC.

Barry Basden lives in Texas and prefers Big Red. He edits Camroc Press Review at www.camrocpressreview.com.

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