‘I was married, twice. The first had twins; they died at birth.’
He gave a last, loving push, with both thumbs
slid his cigarette along his tongue, one end
to the other. ‘It was for the best.’
The click of a lighter, a flourish of smoke.
A snarl as he picked a smidge of tobacco
from the tip of his tongue. ‘The second one
is in the nut house. I seem to have that effect
on women.’ He didn’t bother to laugh.
Far away, a train, scraping the night. Calling out.
Put me in mind of the groans
that used to escape the barred windows
of the institution, in the pregnant heat of summer.