“We Are the Flames That Flicker” © Edward Michael Supranowicz



He reaches for the bowl of cut fruit
but grabs the salt instead
we head toward a theater
on Melrose Avenue to catch a play
his shoe catches a crack in the sidewalk
he yips like a poodle.

Hand on my shoulder we walk
toward the airline check-in counter
his hip grazes a luggage cart.
When I left Scott in the hands
of the wheelchair attendant
I cried.

Did I miss my old friend already?
What was I crying about?
It took me a while to get it
driving home down the 105 Freeway
not so much missing him
but thinking about the encroaching darkness

that is enveloping him.
I’ve been losing my sight for 30 years,
he said one morning over Grape Nuts and kefir
and told me a story about riding alone on a bus
still able to see shapes and forms
sometimes facial expressions.

A man across from him was staring.
Oh, poor guy, he can’t see, he can’t see, he said.
He got up, sat down next to Scott
his hand on Scott’s cheek,
tapped it twice with his fingers
and slapped him, not hard
but it was jarring.

You’re okay, you’re okay
the man said
before he exited the bus.


Bill Ratner: “I work as a voice actor. An older voice dude once told me, “You’re not doing it from the heart.” I gulped expecting some sober advice. “Take a volume of Neruda down to your studio, record it and listen back.” That and seeing Bukowski at the Sweetwater in Redondo got me started. My poetry is published in Best Small Fictions 2021 (Sonder Press), To Decorate a Casket (Finishing Line Press-chapbook), Fear of Fish (Alien Buddha Press-full collection), Missouri Review Audio, Chiron Review, Baltimore Review, Feminine Collective, and other journals. I’m a 9-time winner of The Moth StorySLAM, and a certified volunteer grief counsellor.”

Edward Michael Supranowicz is the grandson of Irish and Russian/Ukrainian immigrants. He grew up on a small farm in Appalachia. He has a grad background in painting and printmaking. Some of his artwork has recently or will soon appear in Fish Food, Streetlight, Another Chicago Magazine, The Door Is A Jar, The Phoenix, and The Harvard Advocate. Edward is also a published poet who has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize multiple times.