Soft fingers on rolled paper, red lips waiting.

Please may I use your light?

I flip the lid of my old brass Zippo from ’86 (the hinge sticking in the same old place), and I grind the wheel. A sooty flame whooshes up and bursts into life, a clichéd dance of orange and blue, the sting of the kerosene hitting the spot.

She sucks hard on the New York Marlboro, the igniting tobacco crackling like a forest fire, the rush engulfing her lungs. A size 12 label on a soft cotton blouse, dark brown curls, and freckles in abundance. Three copper rings on a chain, on ears cupped by Sony headphones.

She smiles at me and exhales into the warm summer night.

Thank you.

an immense heatwave,
a carafe of wine with bread,
waiting for a cab.