Burning Through It

j.a. tyler

Crossed ankles impaled one against another he reaches into pages. Orange light blares and there is cold concrete. And there is a fire. And he holds it between two knuckles. Two fingers cupped and curved to accept and match and meet. And it burns like light or wind or thunder or rain when the burning is so much that he needs a break. So he reads slower. Word by word. And his attention is drawn to her death. When she leapt from it. When she stepped in front of it. When she stabbed downward then up again pulling through tendons and meat like butter knives through cupcake frosting. And it still burns there. Between his first and his middle. Train smoke curling upward in visions of ghosts and people. Passing. Like other shades. Like other beings. Like cars counting one two one two three blue red red blue. White. Green. Orange. And it's coming down to the filter. The lines. The circles of gold. So he chains another one from the first and he reads on. About a boy who leaves and then comes back again and is changed somewhere in between. About a kid who doesn't know anything to begin with and is now kept from knowing. Held out. Trapped beneath layers of tobacco smoke and night. Reading on a pedestal of cement. Burning through it.

Among fifty or so other publications, J. A. Tyler has work recently with or appearing soon in The Feathertale Review, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, & Word Riot. He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious. Check out more at www.aboutjatyler.com