Twelve Vanilla Candles

Emily Adams-Aucoin

we had twelve vanilla candles
that spring, & nothing that
smelled like getting sober again.

the days start soft enough,
but they end wrapped around our
throats. we become experts

at untying them; practiced hands
coaxing knots, especially five pm.
of course we avoid sharpening

the knives. we bless the take out
food half-heartedly- both of us
in terrored awe of how large the

absence has become, how nothing
easy will cover it, how we,
young & somewhat free,

bought twelve vanilla candles
instead of dinner one night
& could not stop laughing.

Emily Adams-Aucoin is a poet from Upstate New York who now writes and works as an English Language Arts teacher in South Louisiana. Her work has been published in three anthologies, as well as in Electric Literature’s The Commuter, The Rappahannock Review, K’in, and After the Pause, among other publications.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021