Digital drawing of a match flame in the style of oil pastels, Anna Loscotoff 2022
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The Flame | A Poem and Short Story

The Flame – The Duality of Fire

The First Flame

i remember my lover

i remember my lover
and the way he made me feel
in the field of our youth
lying in the weeds
as they blew in the breeze

i remember my lover
and the caress of my face
at my childhood home
a stolen kiss
on the front porch
as the lightning crackles on the horizon

i remember my lover
as we watch the cumulous
dance through the sky
as the sun sets to gold

i remember my lover
in the dreamscape of our fantasy
the genesis of my heart
the pioneer of my soul

i cannot erase
the love that I felt
in my childhood home
wrapped in the dust 
that sparkled in the light

i cannot convince my heart
to let this place go
and yet
the condition of my life
can no longer feel
the stroke of his finger
can no longer taste
the honeysuckle on my lips

i remember my lover
who is buried beneath my memories
who is buried in the soil at my feet
i mash my toes
into the life giving earth
and say goodbye
to my lover

the lover must rest
the heart must beat
to jump
feet first
into hope
into life
Wrapped in the dust that sparkled in the light/ Loscotoff 2020

The Last Flame

“I don’t want to let you go.”  

I mean what I say, but I also know I don’t really have a choice.

I am met with silence.

“I shouldn’t have to convince you,” I say, trailing my finger along the broken banister.  The dirt piles beneath my fingertip.

The room is empty and light flickers off the dust in the air. Two old rockers sit on each side of a picture window.  If I look past them and into the green beyond the glass, I can just make out their movement. Back and forth. Grooves are worn into the floor from years of repetition.

The floor is scarred, scratches dug deep. The boards, once stable, now groan in protest; the mycelium of my home. I lay down, the light shining across my face and stare at the ceiling.  The fairy dust dancing before my eyes, glinting and twisting and turning.

Like my sister and I did.  When we were children.  When we ran naked down the stairs from our bath.  When time meant nothing.

There is a patter from upstairs, like feet above my head.

“There you are!” I whisper, sitting up.

 “Ready or not!  Here I come!”

I dance up the stairs to the empty room. An old metal bed frame sits in the corner, the bed sunken in the center.  The yellow wallpaper peeling. Like eyes, the pattern stares at me.  Watching me, blaming me.

“It’s really not my fault,” I say. 

The shadows on the paper twist, waiting to be released when the sun lowers from the sky.  When the moon rises from the horizon.  Then the women will crawl out from behind their bars and begin to play.

I will be gone by then.

The house creaks around me.

“I dream of you, you know.”

I sit at the edge of the broken bed and watch the women in the wallpaper.  

“But I can’t let you pull me back in.”

In my periphery, I see the shadows move.

“I am told that someone will give me money for you, for this place, but really, that doesn’t seem fair.”

  I listen for an answer and hear a low moan from the shingles above.  From the broken holes in the roof.  From the ancient, battered cover.

“No, not fair at all.”

The light has begun to change.

I walk down the stairs and find the containers. 

Filled with a pungent odor. 

As I begin to splash them, about the floors, into the corners.  It runs like blood into the cracks and about my feet.

Again, I dance as I danced with my sister in the rain puddles.

When we were little.

And then I light the match.

In the dreamscape of our youth/ Loscotoff 2020


I called this week “The Flame” for the duality of love and fire. The first lines of the prose ran through my mind as I drifted into a dreamlike state. The thought of selling a childhood home kept returning to my own childhood home, but also an image of a childhood home in disrepair and forgotten. The images from the movie “mother!” kept echoing through my vision; a house that is more than a house, a woman that is more than a woman. I kept returning to the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins (Gilman) Stetson and how she captured feminist issues of mental and physical health first published in 1892.

All of these came together in fleeting images and lines of prose that mixed and matched and left me a bit unsettled.

Original ideas were that it is often sad to sell a childhood home… but what if that house is haunted or full of haunted memories? I often dream of houses in disrepair, and I am always working on them. Yes, I know this is about me, working to improve myself. The houses we dream of are ourselves. These houses I work on in my dreams are often, terrifyingly, haunted.

Another idea, my daughter’s, was what if the childhood home is the earth being sold to corporations and the highest bidders. Perhaps the buyers are extraterrestrials. That could go so many ways… maybe they are here to help us, or maybe they will treat us the way we treat farm animals.

I thought about rewriting The Lorax, the ecological tale of selling our earth, our childhood home, and how to make that story new. How to twist and turn it.

But ultimately, I made my way here, dear reader.

If you liked this story, this poem, bits of lines here and there, I hope you will share it with someone you care about.

And if my stories interest you, please subscribe here. I send out an email every Friday with new stories.

7. Selling a childhood home

Include: dreamscape, convince, pioneer, genesis, cumulous, jump, mash, condition, erase, gold

Read Bridgette’s week 7 | The Final Goodbye


The Yellow Wallpaper – original with illustrations

The Yellow Wallpaper – Gutenberg Project e-book

IMDB – mother! – If you start searching for this movie without watching it first, there WILL be spoilers. It is a very powerful movie, a very misunderstood movie, a hated movie, and one of my favorite movies of all time.

“mother!” explained by director Darren Aronofsky – spoilers

More of my 52 weeks

What is the 52-week short story challenge?

Week 1 – Avalon

Week 2 – The Rifle

Week 3 – The Cardboard Prince

Week 4 – Rapture in Reverse

Week 5 – Drink the Kool-Aid

Week 6 – The Hitchhiker

Next Week’s Prompt

8. A wild animal loose in the house

Include: pregnant, community, logo, statistics, democracy, honesty, criminal, ankle, orange, comment

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