On our way to the dance, we made a fire under the bridge.
Snow fell outside the darkness of our shadowed space.
We sang about the bottles of beer we raised with gloved hands.
You lay your arm over my shoulders. Your face glowed in the flames.
Twigs crackled and bits of paper rose in the smoke.
Snow glistened under the streetlights beyond the bridge.
In a while we’d step into the cold brightness but for now
I loved the dark space, the circle of fire, and our song.
In the blackness of my bedroom, sometimes a fire
blazes and I see our pink faces before the flames.
I hear our voices and the sighing of the wind.
Your arm crosses my cold neck and hugs my shoulder,
and I dream we never stepped outside our hallowed space.
The snow was so cold and the streetlights too strong.
James Mulhern’s writing has appeared in literary journals over one hundred and thirty times. In 2013, he was a Finalist for the Tuscany Prize in Catholic Fiction. In 2015, Mulhern was awarded a writing fellowship to Oxford University. That same year, a story was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His most recent novel, Give Them Unquiet Dreams, is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award winner, a Notable Best Indie Book of 2019, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2019, and a Red Ribbon Winner, highly recommended by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards in the United Kingdom.