Brian Koukol

Fear of a Spark

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

I met someone new today—
not a doctor
or a caregiver,
but a person unversed in the toll
of decay and disease and death.

She danced in exuberant joy,
not because she’d finally broken down
and taken an unfairly maligned opiate,
but because she’d bought
a new pair of tights
that were the best thing ever.

As she kicked and strutted and whooped,
I longed for a shell to retreat into:
deep and dark and still—
a place not of sparks
but of embers.

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About the Author

Brian Koukol, raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, now makes his home among the salt breezes and open spaces of California’s Central Coast. A lifelong battle with muscular dystrophy has informed the majority of his work, which is written with the aid of voice recognition software. His words have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Eckleburg, and Rogue Agent, among other places. Visit his author website: