The Candle Holder by Kimi Eisele

The woman was over 60 and willowy. Which meant that she was kind of like a tree, equal parts strong and limber. She wasn’t the kind to bend over backwards, though she probably had the capacity to, those people whose spines curve in ways you didn’t think possible. My friend Rachel had sent her. “Just say yes,” Rachel said. “What does she do,” I asked. “She makes sense,” Rachel said. “Here, hold this,” the woman said, after I let her in. ‘This’ was a candle in a brass candle holder like from the old days. I could have been wearing a nightgown and cap, but I wasn’t. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that said ‘Joy Now,’ which was a lie. The woman rummaged in her bag for matches and then lit the candle and took it back and set it on the coffee table. She took my hand and led me to my sofa and smoothed her hand over it. “Sit,” she said. “Tell me everything.” And so I did. I told her about the dog that had jumped the fence during the fireworks and never returned and about the boyfriend who essentially did the same thing a month later, though by then there were no fireworks. I told her about the rotting lettuce in the fridge and the frozen hard drive and the dead homeless man they found in the alley down the block. I told her about the baby that stopped growing and then she blew out the candle and I understood what over meant.


Kimi Eisele is a writer and performing artist in Tucson. Her novel, The Lightest Object in the Universe, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in 2019. Website: | Twitter: @kimieisele

Image: Alex Holyoake