Illustration by Jake Winkle

Anniversary Dinner

By Natalie Comfort

two candlesticks, languishing yellow, sit,
Proud, Rigid,
held in small dark jars gripping their bases.
thin wax flakes gather around the upper rim,
a couple falling further, past engraved spiraling
intertwined with thin straight cracks
of the brittle wood.

a teardrop of wax slides, meeting the tablecloth,
inner liquid wax rippling and wrinkling, pressing
against the walls of its congealed surface. the man
slouches forward, forearms crossed, hands hanging
off the edge of the table, the woman leans to one side,
then another, eyes fixating on a painting, indistinct
brushstrokes of gold and blue.

and the flame flickers, casting shadows,
one moment tall and thin,
another moment short and wide,
leaning to one side and then another,
responding to unfelt drafts.