The Shine Journal

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Three From Ash Krafton


love, like


 He was like smooth white pebbles gathered by a knowing child and dropped

 with careless precision in a line on the forest floor—

 And love, like moonlight, struck upon them and made wondrous the night.

 He became my path out of the dark.


 Before him, survival was my only sense of direction.

 I floated so as not to drown

 I avoided drop-offs so as not to fall

 Then love, like gravity, pulled me to him

 away from wandering, away from wondering.

 He became my magnetic North.


 He was like string, a wonder of texture and tenacity

 possessing strength far greater than the eye might see—

 and love, like a knot, kept me from slipping free to be stolen by the


 He became my tether to all that was worth having.


 It was love like no other.



 Shelley’s Hope


 Apathy has reduced him

 to a sum of his parts.

 Where once had been a man:

 inanimate pieces.


 Grim mouth

 the optimism of a flat-line

 No joy to bloom in the garden of his cheeks

 Shackles of disappointment restraining

 hand and effort

 Leaden soles weighing--

 steps dragging--

 laborious shuffle to carry onward his mortal coil

 He reposes beneath a shroud of

 I care not.


 His parts are intact.

 The madman who played God

 had constructed him in perfection

 but apathy decays him,

 casting the pallor of the unliving

 across his once-perfect complexion,

 his life.


 Oh! Would that I were lightning

 I might make him feel once more!




 No Need For Encore


 A simple phrase;


 individual words learned as a child,

 strung together with practiced ease, power-laden.

 In different order, the words lose their magic.

 Sudden stage-fright turns your head, and

 slides your gaze to the ground.

 Does regret make a better balm than bravery?

 Balm isn’t what I want; I’d rather your skin

 covered mine like a bandage.

 We made magic, you and I.


 You ripped yourself away.

 Balm doesn’t soothe a wound like that.

 Regret won’t reverse a disappearing act.

 Why liken our love to illusion?

 A new rabbit hides in your hat.

 I catch the coquette’s darting glances

 as she lingers awkwardly nearby.

 Your eyes betray your wish to wave your wand elsewhere.

 Your once-magic tongue works its final trick:

 I don’t think things are gonna work out


 I am erased and you are absolved,

 for with those words I fade from sight

 even before your final bow.




Motivation: love as it waxes and wanes. 

Bio: Pushcart Prize nominee Ash Krafton is a > speculative fiction writer who resides in the heart of the Pennsylvania coal region. She made her publishing debut in Spring 2009 when her poetry appeared in Poe Little Thing; her work has since appeared in several other journals including Niteblade, Everyday Weirdness, joyful!, and 42 Magazine.

Email TSJ: Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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