The bright coal of the cigarette passed between them.
She noticed the tightly drawn curve of his shoulders.
He’d just faced a screaming man in the bar, full of rage,
But he knew how to avoid a fight,
Having endured his brother’s anger for years,
His childhood still raw.
He checked his watch as she found the North Star,
Tracing the constellation lines as her father taught her.
She wanted to speak of stars and cicadas,
Of long summer nights and heat lightning,
But they silently passed the diminishing cigarette,
Quickly extinguished as he walked back into the house.
– Lucinda Borchard