local_library Metaphors

by Matthew Hall

Published in Issue No. 203 ~ April, 2014

“Several women lay there with their bellies burst open, probably by the blast, and one could see the babies for they were hanging half outside.”

—Eva Beyer


Flames carve rivulets through Dresden, stalking oxygen—and concrete heaps like leaves in autumn, but really they just kill.


If still teaching children how to create metaphors, I would say, “Buildings surrendered to exploding sky, pressed faces to ground, exhaled steel and stone in searing breaths.” Like 9-11, they would say in chorus—that looping image,


then flames

then iron melting,

etched on their sponge-like fibers, recalled with ease. I’d train them to refashion language, transmute burned bodies to flame-painted flesh—they’ll remember how black smoke blotted September’s sky, how their parents’ mouths seemed glued to silence, no eloquence potent enough to deepen meaning.


Word-camouflaging can dampen history’s echo—can dress obscene language in too many layers; I’ll offer them a warning: “Sometimes clouds are not shifting faces; descending bombs are not swarming locust; and carnage is just that.”

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Matt Hall's short fiction has been published in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. He is currently busy teaching and working on his first novel.