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by Christina Dalcher

Sunday morning yoga ends with candle meditation. So I have a candle, which is sometimes just a candle, only coincidentally representative of other cylindrical and tubular objects with hot, red ends.

I meditate on phalluses and places where they hide. On the mat beside me, Maryann makes a circle with her lips, inhales, exhales, lost in her thoughts of nothingness. I’m here only because of Maryann.

“It’s a stress reliever,” she’d said. “Better than sex.”

Maryann would know.

Know rhymes with blow rhymes with Joe.

Maryann does not have a job; although when I leave for the office, she sets out on her commute, all the way from her back door to mine.

Job. Blow job. Joe Blow. Blow Joe.

There are things I could do with this candle that is supposed to be nothing more than a candle: melt it into an effigy of my husband, shove it up Maryann’s ass, torch a marital bed. Instead, I breathe hate onto Maryann’s flame and escape into my empty mind as the class wrinkles their noses at the stink, practicing the sacred art of non-violence.


Christina Dalcher is a theoretical linguist from the Land of Styron and Barbecue, where she writes, teaches, and channels Shirley Jackson. Recognitions include The Bath Flash Award’s Short List, nominations for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions, and second place in Bartleby Snopes’ Dialogue-Only Contest. Find her work in The Airgonaut, The Nottingham Review, and New South Journal, among others. Find Christina at www.christinadalcher.com or @CVDalcher. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents her novels.

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