“Old Flame” by Ben Schutz

Five years ago I struck a match
Watched it smolder in a bottle
Of Bombay Sapphire. I grew
A sick exoskeleton. I drank gin.
Swirling ice cubes around
My melting spirit, I studied oceanography.
Convinced myself the flame was less
A fraction of a calamity.
Time shows no sign of a guilty plea
To play victim is free
But victimization is my last bastion
My last escape route. I flee.
For the sake of the match being put out
I agree. Goal! Some may scream,
Fantasizing about the shower room
Of the opposing team.
Our match had nothing to do with goals
And all to do with rooms, averted screams
Drowned in cocktails, abandoned nights
Sequestered in timid shame.
I ran, I ran so far away
The language was new
And refreshing. And while my delusioned mind
Ran wild, within me something remained tame.


Ben Schutz grew up on an island in Lake Michigan and is an English teacher and poet residing in Debrecen, Hungary.