My hand hovers over the altar, match in hand everyone knows light is used to honor something
passed. Tinder sparks reveal sloppy lake water, my aunt handing me candies that I didn’t like
but eat anyway. I can still feel the wax bottle molded to my teeth, memory in luminosity, candles bring only good memories from the shadows.
We are taught to venerate unconditionally. Honor the good ancestors and slough the others.
My altar has become a place that holds flowers for no one.
Lindsey Schaffer is the author of City of Contradiction (Selcouth Station) and Witch City (dancing girl press). Her work has appeared in Reservoir Road Literary Review, Ethel Zine, Runestone, and elsewhere. Lindsey is a recipient of the Herman B. Wells Fellowship from the Indiana Writers Workshop, an honorable mention for the Boston Mayor's Poetry Program, and a Manitou Fellowship from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. She serves as a poetry editor for Variant Literature.
EDITOR'S SONG PAIRING: Public Memory — Midsummer Shadow