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Thursday, March 2

Hot Scents

"Hot Scents"
Flash Fiction
By Anca Vlasopolos

About a week ago I awoke in the night with the smell of burnt matches on my fingers. I got up in the dark, rubbed my fingers with soap under cold water. The smell remained. I rummaged in the medicine cabinet for an old toothbrush I keep as a nail cleaner and used it to scrub under the nails, making vast quantities of foam with the liquid soap, which had a slight vanilla scent. I then let hot water nearly scald my hands. The smell receded, as if retreating under the skin against this assault. A half an hour later, as I tossed in my insomnia and imprudently flung the back of my hand over my sweaty brow, the smell was back. It has been there ever since, sometimes, as in the night, prominent, ascendant, uncompromising, at other times joyously commingling with the flavor of diced garlic, seared meat, stir-fried vegetables, at others almost a vague memory of an arsonist past buried under the smell of earth and wet grass from the garden.

It leaves me slightly disquieted, now that I know I cannot get rid of it. Do I sleepwalk through incendiary episodes? Have I found a spot, a bit of uncultivated ground, in a parallel dimension where, each night, I set fires to scar and mark my clay pots? Have my accumulated angers at last begun, literally, to consume me, like a great bonfire put out by sleep but burning, bit by bit, night after night, closer to the surface, to the visible point, where I will one day, elegantly, like a match aflame, change matter to energy, go off, go up?


Anca Vlasopolos published No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement, a poetry collection, Through the Straits, at Large; a chapbook, The Evidence of Spring; and a detective novel, Missing Members; as well as short stories and over two hundred poems in literary magazines such as Porcupine, Poetry International, Branches Quarterly, Barrow Street, Nidus, Full Circle Journal, Short Story, Natural Bridge, Center, Evansville Review, Santa Barbara Review, River Styx, Spoon River Poetry Quarterly, Weber Review, Lynx Eye, etc.

5 reactions:

Kelly Parra said...

Hi Anca, I enjoyed your piece very much! You have great talent. Thank you for adding your unique voice to FM. =D

stay_c said...

Great piece. I really like concise nature of it.

Jeff said...

Very nice. Thanks for sharing, Anca. :)

anne frasier said...

wow. loved it, anca.

Skee said...

"Have my accumulated angers at last begun, literally, to consume me, like a great bonfire put out by sleep but burning, bit by bit, night after night, closer to the surface, to the visible point, where I will one day, elegantly, like a match aflame, change matter to energy, go off, go up?"

What a closing sentence. Fantastic wording.

-John Wilson.