Thorax Carnival | Chelsey Burden

$ 7.00

Chelsey Burden is originally from Kingman, Arizona. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University, where she also received her Bachelor’s degrees in Women’s and Gender Studies and in Sociology. Her work has been published in Gazing Grain Press, The Ploughshares Blog, 3Elements Review, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Curios, Literary Mama, Flash Fiction Magazine, Entropy Magazine, White Stag,The Narrow Chimney Anthology, and elsewhere. Find her at



How to Exit

by unhooking their names
like cat-claw from your skin.
Listen to the soles of your feet.
They know that you are on a bridge
made of matchsticks.
Do not stand still. Let the friction
of each footstep do as it will.
Revel in the flames at your back.

Give your farewell to those ghosts,
like Christmas tree skeletons
on the side of the road--
strewn with silver tinsel,
pine needles as dry and brittle
as your goodbye voice.
Even you strain to hear it
over the sound of demands that drag behind you
like clanging metal cans tied to a cat’s tail.
The more you walk forward,
the louder they rattle.

Or think of it as a string
tied around your finger.
A reminder of exactly which direction
they beckon with the words “come back.”
Leave what burns you alive.
Your own ashes
will not give rise
to anyone else’s phoenix.