I did it. I committed a felony
against an empty barn
and all the sweet oxygen
inside of it, made a pyre of the stable
and retired the silo to ash
like an old American flag. I’ve always loved
the smell of hay, newspapers, anything
with the potential to be doused in an erasure
wept by gasoline and a cigarette lighter.
All I’m guilty of is my romance
with the blood-red head of a match.
How thirst is addicted to water, to love
what will always leave you
empty-handed. But what do I know
about love? I have two hands
but only one body with no one
beside me, and there are four types of arson
and just two kinds of people:
those who burn
and those who burn.
I brand everything I touch
with the smell of burning,
and I touch myself until my hands
relapse as smoke signals.
Erin Jin Mei O’Malley lives in New York. Her work appears or is forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others. She has received a scholarship from the Lambda Literary Foundation and nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. You can find her at explorationsoferin.com.