A Jar Full of Lighters

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

Out of cigarettes to smoke
out of tissues to wipe away the tears
a final swig of whisky to get him through the night
then he was gone

She came to gather his things
and wondered about all the lighters
as if he’d be lost without one
to light his cigarette or . . .
perhaps to light the candle?

She imagined him
Lighting the wick
with trembling hand
a cigarette dangling from his mouth
as he stared at
two photographs
smudged with fingerprints
dappled with tears
how they came to life
in the dancing flame
then he was gone


NOTE: I can’t bring myself to type “THE END” for this poem. Even three years later, I find it hard to say it. Suicide. Those left behind never stop missing those who left. We never quit wondering about the last moments, about why and what if. That this poem came to mind so quickly is proof.

Friday Fictioneers is a compilation of writers from around the world who gather online weekly, guided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge? To write a story in 100 words or less based on a new photo prompt. This week’s prompt is by Yvette Prior.

To read more stories in an online flash fiction anthology by Friday Fictioneer authors, click:

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36 Responses to A Jar Full of Lighters

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Beautiful and magical, Jan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jan,

    Reading your footnote made me ache. Sounds quite personal. As always, beautifully written and heartfelt.



    PS Looking forward to seeing you this weekend. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Very personal indeed, Rochelle. Like the death of any loved one, he is still greatly missed. But what makes me saddest of all is the desperation he must have felt in the end. And that I denied to myself that it was so bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lisarey1990 says:

    Brilliantly descriptive. A beautiful, heartfelt read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A couple of my friends lost family members to suicide. We always wonder about their last moments. Beautifully written, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was beautifully, sensitively done, Jan.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  6. gahlearner says:

    Our family lost someone to suicide, too. You are absolutely right, of this you can never let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I imagine that keeping all the lighters in one place is a prophylactic measure, likely considered an accomplishment by this individual. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Iain Kelly says:

    Very powerful Jan, and obviously something personal as well, which makes it resonate even more. Well done for writing and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. StuHN says:

    I’m sorry you’ve had to live with this. Death is hard. Suicide, more so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a catch in my throat as I read your footnote Jan. A big hug to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dale says:

    Beautifully done, Jan. The what ifs and if onlys are useless but we have them anyway.
    So very sorry this is close to home for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan Morrill says:

      You’re so right, Dale. For a long time, I think those questions helped me not to “let go.” In a strange way, they kept him “alive.” As time has passed, they enter my mind and leave much more quickly–still unanswered, but hurting less.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. pennygadd51 says:

    So delicately written. So poignant. I love the way you use a candle to illuminate the reason for his death. I was sad to read that the story was inspired by the suicide of a close, personal friend. A part of him lives on, though, in your life and in your writing, since his actions and his thinking plainly affected you deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. granonine says:

    This one made my heart hurt, even before I read the end note. I’m so sorry for your loss. Suicide is terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. prior.. says:

    Jan – this was outstanding – because I was wondering if anyone was going to address the lighters. – And the way you did- was smooth.
    And then the heavier topic of suicide – well ti was right on time because last week one of my students left class abruptly as he had a friend die that way.
    Thanks for mentioning this – and I was just reading an article about how it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Oh, Yvette. I’m so sorry to hear about your student’s loss. I can’t imagine the impact suicide has on young people who have lost a friend that way. Thank you for sharing my story on your blog, and thank you for the excellent photo prompt. ❤ Wanted to let you know, however, much as I enjoy Jilly Funnell's writing, I'm not Sugar on the Bee. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior.. says:

        oh I am sorry if it came across as you were sugar on the bee – but that was actually linking her blog right after yours.
        I apologize if it was not clear – I will go back and make it extra clear – but I was mentioning her blog separately.


  15. Pingback: Sit With You for a While(Friday Fictioneers) – priorhouse blog

  16. Heartbreaking stuff, puts things in perspective somewhat

    Liked by 1 person

  17. jillyfunnell says:

    Beautifully written, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so sorry for the loss that still hurts, Jan. Thank you for sharing this poignant well-written piece! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. subroto says:

    A sad and touching poem.


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