Brenna Crotty and
Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald
Inspiration piece


By Brenna Crotty



Because he didn’t leave any Personal Belongings at the flat,

We have no hairbrushes or notebooks, or soccer jerseys from university,

Or love letters to burn.

Just some used condoms, still in the bin,

But it doesn’t feel terribly symbolic to burn those.

We could burn him in effigy,

But Charlene doesn’t want to do that

And Laurie says it’s Satanic

And Karen says the whole thing is stupid anyway

And nobody asks me what I want to do,

Because I’m The Victim

And therefore obviously filled with the big Useless Relationship Items

And Feelings that need to be burned away

With grand, symbolic gestures.


But mostly I feel nothing, like a spark going out,

And I have so little of his to assign meaning to.

Just the time I lost one of the earrings he gave me

And refused to wear just one because of the whole

Looking Like a Twat issue

So he asked me to swallow the lonely one

And I did.

Which leaves self-immolation, I suppose.


He used to tell me that he got this feeling, the need to get out.

When four walls were the same every day

It was like putting his head in a plastic bag and inhaling.

Itchy Feet is what he called it.

But we were naked in bed at the time

With the sheets like scraps of confetti,

Just barely touching our skin

And both his arms were on my back

And I couldn’t imagine him ever moving again

So I made a joke about Athlete’s Foot

And that was that.


We finally collect a pen he used to chew on,

His favorite football mug,

And the toothbrush he sometimes used.

All of them are mine

But they touched him, I suppose.

They were in his mouth, he sucked on them,

Contaminated them,

Made them unusable for others.

My friends fail to make the comparison between

The Objects and me.


We take them out to the backyard to burn them

But ceramic mugs don’t catch fire easily,

And a pen and a toothbrush are small, paltry things.

So my friends bring me their own fuel:

Solid cords of oak from the wood shed

That still smell like a

Green, Living Thing,

And their own anger, and loneliness and outrage

On my behalf

That burns so much better than what I have to offer.

Karen, with her husband who cannot help but fuck

The Secretary

But who doesn’t have the decency to leave her for good.

Laurie, who hasn’t slept in the same bed as her boyfriend

Since the baby was born.

Charlene, who watches too many Goddamn Chick Flicks

For her own good.


They build a pyre, three feet tall and stacked like

Jenga blocks so the wood won’t roll away.

Loosen one and it goes from towering blaze

To a smoky pile of dust and ashes.

So I leave it be.

They cluster the items in the middle and rim the center

With grass and branches.

Nature’s lighter fluid.

When they finally get the wood to catch,

I wait

And feel nothing.


He left without a word, but he used to tell me that he would do someday,

And just knowing that he might be gone,

It would make me breathe him in differently.

I never took him for granted.

The branches crackle and burn with a hearty,

Hefty weight to them.

Half of me is cold from the October wind

And half is warm from the fire on my face and arms,

The red comfort of it.

I blink smoke out of my eyes and wait for the feeling of him to leave me.

He was always already gone and yet he never left,

All in one.

All in one.


The sparks drift up from the pyre and disappear into the bowl of the sky

And are more beautiful for it.



Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm | #

    Awesome work Brenna–concise and full of imagery–I just felt the smoke in my eyes too. Ouch. I love what the artist did with it too.