About the Feature

These are the nights we burn couches.
We carry them each like a paisley casket

up from a basement lit year-round
by strung-up Christmas lights and joints,
out from a living room floored
with carpet damp and soft as cheese;

we curl our fingers under the frame,
dodge florets of mold, lift the armrest
nose high, and smell the year-simmered sauce
of beer, sex, orange juice, and Febreze;

we twist them through a narrow hall,
kick open the pneumatic screen door,
and set them on a lawn itself hung over
from a winter of snow cover and mud.

Then, lighter fluid to microfiber suede,
a match to polyester tweed:
the couch burns fast, the flames leap
high as a backboard and come down softly

on the cushions. And we all think,
“I could jump over that if I got
a running start.” And we try it,
stop short on our first attempt,

then run, leap, tuck our knees and flail,
land askew, tumble and roll to our feet
ecstatic. Only then do we notice
that we’ve lost the hair on our shins,

just as many men do when they age,
just as we lose our jump, feel our knees
harden around office chairs. One April
we’ll think, “It’s the best time of year

to buy a snowblower.” When the couch
burns down (and who would have kept it?)
all that remains are the springs.


Image by Matt MacGillivray

About the Author

Michael Pontacoloni’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in ,i>Harpur Palate, Tupelo Quarterly, Flyway, and elsewhere. He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and he is the marketing director for a real estate technology firm.