and we’re lying on the floor
blanketed by a darkness that presses
into every part of the room except
the candles on the bookshelf
an ellipsis of three small flaxen flames

for a moment
with the television muted
it is just the two of us
tenderness in chaos

but with fresh tears
the three little lights blur together
flaxen then golden then

a flicker of amber
a spot, a single spark

and the spark is like gunfire

and every candle smells like fall


Nooshin Ghanbari is a third-year English major at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was recently awarded the 2016 Ellen Engler Burks Memorial Scholarship for Creative Writing. She currently serves as the assistant poetry editor of The Nocturnal Literary Review, the official journal of the university’s Plan II Honors program. Her poetry has previously appeared in Skylark Review, Rising Phoenix Review, and WILDNESS Journal.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.