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 by Hattie Scott

I dress as Cinderella to blow out the candles 

of a chocolate Dalek cake.

Whispering exterminate

to snuff out the four waxy stars with 

sugar-coated sticky breath and make a wish 

which everyone choruses in delight. 

We gasped as the sky caught delight,

smog in all the colours of a school disco

veiling the galactical highway of

spaceships dancing and battling across

a cosmos prickled in little campfires

that before they set out to invade would be snuffed.

Like that gown of silky moss you snuffed, 

its oak boned corset draped in ashes as swatches

of autumn fabric singed the air, lint sapping 

the sky so that all that remained

of that patchwork piece you grafted in your garden

were golden pearls that dripped from her warmth. 

My eyes simmer in the embers of last night’s warmth, 

flame-licked fingers stroke the small of my back

absorbing the damp with each tender motion like fresh tinder 

on an open hearth in the early morning. I reignite the cinders

to spark something on a face bathed in the 

afterglow laced with hungover smoke. 

It hangs about in an ashy mist as we smoke, 

chattering but hushed, so that we can strain our ears

to hear the crackling of a lighter or the soothing exhale chorusing

Thank God we don’t have to breathe this air anymore.

Our fingertips yellow, our lips a purple blue, 

soot prays a spirited orange in our lungs. 

I didn’t stay in the smoking area for long.

My dress was charred by the damp and my voice 

drowned out by the raspy memories 

that you fan, set, match

and breathe and breathe

in the embers of my afterglow. 

Artwork by Aidan Davies

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