Guest Voices

Uncandle Me


I lit the candle.

I watched.

I watched the candle.


I heard it groan,

I felt its moan,

I saw it flicker,

I heard it sigh,

I watched it almost die.


I watched my breath sway the flame

As it flickered hesitantly,


Trying to decide if to live or die,

Or die to live.


I watched the flame go higher,

I watched the flame go lower,

Trying to decide if it was worthwhile,

Unsure whether the pool of wax beneath

Could hold the weight

Of the heat to come.


I watched the flame grow black,

I watched the wick shrink,

I watched the flame grow brighter,

And the wax go down and down.

I watched it dip,

I watched it drip into bloodless

Vein-like formations.


I watched in fear.


I watched the candle as

I breathed slowly

Till the last glimmer

Drowned in a pool of wax.


December 17, 1996

Etti Kirshner is a retired teacher who was raised in Jaffa, Israel. These poems are part of an unpublished collection written by her in 1996.