Where There’s Smoke, There Are Mirrors by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

nothing is on fire
not even these pants

there may have been a faint burning
at one time,
but that is gone now

not even enough ashes
if we cobble together the entire phoenix
of our laced dalliances

the water is laughing at us
we are bathing suits
in gooseflesh

harping on about a fire
not even our dear forests can

flippant sawmill obituaries

tree rings read like fortunes
on the fly

and the lady that rings me through the cash
has a deep scar on her left cheek

I try not to stare, but she catches me

is professional enough not to say anything

her boss is outside,
a tiny man in lifts

arguing Time with parking enforcement
as though it were a real thing

that’s a fiery one, the other cashier remarks,
again with the fire

and I leave the store with my purchase

no fire,
just something small
for over the

light enough for an absent wind
to blow away

for these two lips pursed together
into face.


© 2018 Ryan Quinn Flanagan


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Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, Literary Yard, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.


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