by Liam Gilligan
Liam Gilligan lives in Dallas. He writes poetry and short fiction that aspires to be long fiction. He likes to be near the ocean and juggling too many hobbies at once. And he likes to juggle.
A Boy Running Home
It is late and the scent of night is indiscernible from darkness. A boy that smells like spoiled meat tastes lead in his mouth as he runs along the wet asphalt of a highway. The breeze whisked in the wake of displaced air behind him is relentless. And frigid. It seeps its way into his damp clothes and lingers in the pockets, finding shelter in his coat amidst a hazy, mauve musk. Quietly it chills him to his scentless, tasteless bone, but the heat of his skin that sizzles against the uncertain rain convinces him not to notice. Soon he will round the corner and pass a robin’s egg blue house that would taste too sweet if it were a slice of cake. He will jump over a musty fence and enter through the backdoor of a red-brick house that could only ever be a cake made of gravel. Soon, he will stumble through a door frame warped like a cello and bleed through his teeth after running so far for so long. But for now, the highway smells like morning dew.
Chemistry and Retrospect
Once, years ago, alone on a rooftop, I watched
halogen flower in my fingernails.
Pale reds and yellow-greens bristled
From an eerie flame, and the spectres of the city lights reduced
My cuticles to ash. I held my thumb up against a sky
Of spilled ink. It burned and crumbled
Like the moon. I put what was left in my mouth
To douse the flames: They tasted like chalk
And chlorine. I swallowed, made my throat like a drum,
My arm like a waterfall, my mind like a kiss
As gravity sank its way into
Me, and my head slipped off
And up like a hydrogen balloon.