Building a Fire in Bristol

by Anastasia Stelse —

Her violent eyes across the room strike
quickly on my cheek. Her gaze is a match,
the sulfur sweet, my body is a wick
inflamed. If I could find a way to catch
her glance, instill its fire in a stone,
I’d wear her passion around my neck, her soul
clasped tight against my chest. I’d mix my own
desires in, add chicory, sage, toe of mole.
I’d boil the potion with cypress twigs and set
it brimming in fresh snow. I’d leave it there
for thirty days, one for each day since we’ve met
and watch it turn as dark as her soft hair.
I’d ground the plane stealing me home today—
incinerate the wings, ice the runway.

Anastasia StelseAnastasia Stelse is a native of southeastern Wisconsin, a graduate from the MFA program at American University, and a graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi’s creative writing PhD program housed in the Center for Writers. She currently teaches at the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, Poet Lore, Sou’wester, Passages North, Fairy Tale Review, and Crab Orchard Review, among others.