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Out on the porch, my mother sat in an Adirondack chair, smoking
her first cigarette in ten years. The air was hazy and discolored.
Her wedding ring spun on the table, gathering fallen ashes.
I was on the floor, knees tucked up under my chin, poking sticks
down the cracks. She spoke of lies and imagined bliss.
She tucked her hair behind her ear and sighed.
I listened as my mother explained the complexity of love.
Last night he drove just over the state border. I sat in the car,
feet up on the dashboard, singing with the radio. He looked at me
like he had a secret. He was the sage and I was the fool.
So there we were, lying together on the moth-eaten bed of some sleazy motel,
naked and not touching. The drink machine hummed outside, the gnats
gathered toward the flickering light.
And I know that I was warned, still it was not what I hoped.