When smoke fills the room is when I see things clear: It will only ever be me and this amorphous dog prowling around what used to be my dad’s farm.
The flames coal at dusk. I signal to Joe, Bring the family over for dinner.
I’ve missed him.
“Saw your smoke,” says Joe.
He’s brought scotch, too, which I pretend I enjoy. By the woodstove, we sip it and watch his kids teach the dog to shape-shift into their stepdad, Richard.
“What I wouldn’t give,” we say to each other, and the deer up on the wall sigh in unison.