One July at 2 a.m.

Speeding down the kudzu highway
where Atlanta’s orange glow chokes
stars, he forced the ’82 stick-
shift Toyota too close to its
effective frequency. I thought
the vibrations would shatter us.

He forgot the front-door key and had to climb
through our bedroom window.
Poison sumac grew on the wall. He attacked
the tendrils with his serrated carbon steel
commando pocket-knife. Our sheets, always musty,
kept me awake as the fan click-clacked,
and he again refused to hold or touch me.

First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.