Sarah Countryman

Irradiant purge.

I feel a fire
that burns hot like sunspots
and Sunday afternoons.
These blue flames discourage
feeling in my fingers.
So, I don’t touch, no

I won’t touch.
I am not you. I am me.
I am Jackson Pollock.

Encasing the flame, here
I become it and it around me
enveloping (hatred, harm)

Hot candles leaving wax
stains on dark canvas;
my tears dripping down
high cheek bones mixing
with finger paint and childhood

memories. Not forgotten
—the bigger picture, but, no,
not the biggest.
This one is my heart, though,
and it pumps rich royal

(not crimson, not red)

I wonder if I am human.
Not like you and you and you
with your cookie cutter lives
and luxury car emotions.


I am not you.
I am me. I am Jackson Pollock.
I am Eurydice
and Sam Marlowe.
Amelia Earhart and Picasso, too.
Their histories
are mine now and not
thrown away.
And then I am purging
you until my throat burns

like oil on pavement and
this flame is gone. It leaves
and does not come back.
It will not come back until
the change.

I return, and in
those burning Sundays
I find myself.
Today I have learned:
sunshine is irradiant,
and, so am I.

Sarah Countryman is an intersectional activist, wife, and cat mom living in Atlanta, GA. She will be starting her MLIS at Valdosta State in the fall and plans to become a children’s and youth librarian. This is her first ever submission to a literary publication!

JD Thornton