about the author

Vincent Poturica lives in Long Beach, CA, where he teaches at Cerritos College and Chadwick School. His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, DIAGRAM, Atlas Review, LEVELER, and New Ohio Review.

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[Paul stopped living] 

Vincent Poturica

Paul stopped living.
We were touring his favorite parking garages.

The flames blossomed towards the moon.
Mother screamed when she saw Paul standing in them.

A wound changes color depending on its depth.
The mice agreed that it was a golden color, darker in the hollow parts.

The flames were manufactured on the moon.
Or so Mother said.

Across the valley from the school was Paul’s favorite parking garage.
The mice murmured while copulating in the walls.

The flames made too much noise.
But the moon men would not stop making them.

Mother shushed the children who were cheering.
There was a roof of flames above Paul’s head.

Clap like you’re at a golf tournament, Mother said.
The mice scampered down the hill into the shadows.

Enlightenment comes to the most dull-witted, said the flames.
I held Paul’s burning hand.

Mother told the children to practice free throws until dinnertime.
Moon men do not envy Earth men.

Death begins around the eyes—it radiates.
Paul knelt in the flames.

From a distance, you only notice the wound, nothing else.
It was overwhelming.

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