Ritual Cleansing

The flimsy tissue separator
burned the fastest. Holding
the card to my face, I lit

a clove with it, exhaling
bitterness until fire
licked at my fingers.

Instinctively I dropped
everything. Flaming paper
scattered across the sidewalk,

skidded under parked cars. Bits
of map blew into the street.
A police cruiser turned

the corner, rolled over
remnants of the RSVP,
stopped. A woman got out.

I couldn’t take my eyes off
the hand firmly placed
on her gun. She asked

if I was all right. I answered,
“Yeah, now that I’ve set
something on fire.”

Josette Torres received her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech. She also holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her work has previously appeared in Ayris, The New Verse News, 16 Blocks, FICTION on the WEB, and elsewhere. She is currently a doctoral student in cultural thought in the ASPECT Program at Virginia Tech.

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One Response to Ritual Cleansing

  1. Ted Jean says:

    This is high power, Josette. The burning/cleansing motif is acrid, consistent, legitimate. Bravo

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