by Brendan Trevethan


It’s like the heat of the summer. Ever-present.

If you look closely at the horizon, you can see it.


I refer to the “sting” of defeat,

but watching one’s rank or placement tick down is more like

shivering in the frigid north, sans snowfall;

frustration building as your body fails to perform as intended.

Dead plants and thoughts keep cold company.


Entering competition creates an internal blue flame.

The fire licks the heart and lungs.

The fire feeds on challenging wins.

Easy wins are like tinder, allowing the fire’s continuous burn.


Damp logs, or losses, they make the fire puff and smoke.

Their existence—a reminder that no dry log was perfect.

A large enough log can suffocate a fire.