Striking Fire

by Isabel Yap

Her hands numbed to nothing
long before. She brings them
to her lips and breathes out,
marveling at the white clouds
her parched mouth creates.
Gonna enjoy your shoe,
the wicked boy said, leaning
close to kiss her frozen cheek
before running off, leaving her
barefoot in the snowdrifts.
A good memory: grandmother
turning from the stove,
pointing out the window. Look,
snowflakes are falling, she says.
In the background,
father's rich laughter.
The lit match is like a prayer,
like whispering farewell,
though who is departing she can't tell.
It illuminates the empty street,
banishes the shadows,
warms her hands
better than breathing could.
Shows her dreams
better than dreaming could.

Isabel Yap writes fiction and poetry, works in the tech industry, and drinks tea. Born and raised in Manila, she has also lived in California, Tokyo, and London. In 2013 she attended the Clarion Writers Workshop. Her poetry and fiction have recently appeared in Shimmer, Apex Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and She is @visyap on Twitter and her website is here. Her favorite fruit is a ripe, golden Philippine mango.

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