by Claire Mischker

She left God for a country boy
and then left him for the country, walked
across to the white porch’s red-
swinged stranger, said hello
into the night, tilting red wine drops
onto confederate gray planks.
She absorbed, assimilated his way
of morphing the word smoke
into two distinct syllables:
sss moke. She brushed his skin
in the barter for fire; but, failing
to adapt, she inhaled—
searching for the familiar scent
of gasoline and motor oil,
glanced quickly for black-tip finger nails.