Sarah Kersey is a poet, musician, and x-ray tech from New Jersey, USA. She is an associate editor for South Florida Poetry Journal. Her work has appeared in The Fictional Cafe, Neologism Poetry Journal, The Harpoon Review, Thistle Magazine, and elsewhere. Her blog can be found at


Trigger Warning

Two lovers run headlong into flames.
Fueled by a woodstove,
noses are stained with scent.
No lye can be told as to where they’ve been.
Banners are properly disposed when burned;
it’s allegiance at its height.

How does one embalm a body of embers?
Frightened by skin’s horny layer
flushing but retaining moisture
like a cremation not quitting;
fireworks staving off night
during independence’s finale.
The last thing these two could hold were
the pearls of each other’s skulls.

Her eyelids wrinkle a woman
who is resilient, who would never
let the light of her love
warn her pupils.
She would keep her wounds close,
but now they are on her outer edge.
She and He are hurting, and for once
they know why.
Each just wants the other to be better.
They won’t be able to touch each other like before,
which is fine, because if love were only in hands
no one would need to know depth,
just the ingenuity to take them to higher ground.

And it could snow any minute at the hospital.
Staff rushes around before needing their hoodies.
Drops from overhead
splash her organs, and his metabolism
races to heal him.
One doctor unwraps her chest.
Rise restricted
by compounding rinds
of a clementine.

Another doctor’s fingers pinch the tent of the drape,
punctuates rose-ratified flesh.
The fragility could not be fathomed;
his boils melted into galaxies.
Air currents flinch at the unsightliness.

But the amalgams of the inner selves are no longer
confused by collagen’s commands.
Pliant manner suspended on face as solution.

Tattering topography
of newly grafted skin,
palms and soles trespass
to steal what’s left of that home.
Her brain once hooked his jacket in its mudroom,
gave him a place to stay, lodged his footprints on its rug.

Soon, sclerotic to PT, live wires
will flex and extend a risk
for electrocution, not char in contracture.
Will ease into a seat,
will have fibers rubber-wound once again,
will re-learn to pin down what they need; even in OT

Love is no accident.
Such fierce acquaintance
with repurposed bodies.
Molten then soldered
into tandem bicycle.

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