local_library Clown on Fire

by Jason Matthews

Published in Issue No. 193 ~ June, 2013

Autumn-colored flame leaps

from barber-pole birthday candle

to purple afro wig; trickles

down greasepaint to

ruffled polyester collar

and baggy rayon suit

(rainbows and smiling stars

against a shimmering orange field),

which shrink-wraps the powdered torso

before dripping like napalm

onto gigantic shoes.


The air — thick with screams and sirens;

chemical stink, burned hair, carbonized pork —

rings with laughter

for the first time today

as the children dance

around a charred




account_box More About

Jason Matthews' work has appeared in VESTAL REVIEW, STAR*LINE, IN PARENTHESES, and FROM THE DEPTHS, and is due to appear in the upcoming CIPHER SISTER anthology from ThunderDome Press. He lives in Los Angeles.