Poet & Thief

Today’s poem, Neon  Ne, 10 from Elemental

Neon Ne, 10

I met him at a party, the neon bender – his hair wavy, shoulder length, his fingers quick and thin. I no longer remember his name, only how passionate he was about bending. I remember how he leaned with his hips against the sideboard, its dark wood warm to the touch, and how the back of his shirt was suddenly in flames—a creeping upside down v of fire—I could see it in the built-in mirror. An untucked pink oxford, too close to the candle’s flame. I threw him to the floor, pressed him down with my body, told him “You were on fire.” I remember how he smiled at me, mouth open wide in surprise or awe or pain, I am not sure. The party continued as I pinned him down, my hands on his shoulders, asking him, “Do you think the fire’s out?” We got to our feet, inspected the damage— most of the back of his shirt eaten away. “This is the best party I’ve been to,” he said, “in a long, long time.” Still glancing in the mirror to check the damage, “And this is now my favorite shirt.”

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