Today I burned the last stick of incense my grandmother brought back from Japan many many years before she died. I watch the smoke uncurl at halfway and the ashes meet those of a dollar bill in a white ceramic bowl.
Yes, I am trying to call a phoenix...
Tonight I'm the little match girl in high heels. Too-large wool coat and tied up hair about to be let loose. Tiny sparks for jewelry, the pumps are wearing nervous sparkles onto my skin- baby blisters- that won't be so big I can't handle them in the time it takes me to get home.
My clutch: lipstick, pen, paper, money, tissues.
There was a woman I passed on the city street a while back.
The cords of her earphones were neatly tucked
underneath the strap that held the breathing mask/air barrier to her face.
She made eye contact with me. Her eyes told me that from under that mask, she wasn't smiling back.