The puddle had been there so long there were polliwogs in it.
She squatted above it, her muddy hiking boots perched on the cement culvert. She looked directly down into the puddle, where she was gently probing with a long, leafless twig.
The ragged 60 year old full length mink she’d found in a thrift store was muddy on the hem. Her waist length, heavy black hair disappeared under it, but her bare arms poked out the sleeves, rolled back in bulky cuffs to just below her elbows.
Her eyes were narrowed in concentration and for once he respected that, moving quietly down next to her.
The cigar he’d been lighting on and off the whole afternoon, a nastily sweet index finger sized liquor store special, was clamped unlit and soggy in his mouth and he thought compulsively about lighting it. Instead he put it back in the pocket tobacco tin he often carried and followed her gaze into the puddle.
Finally he saw why she was transfixed.
Beneath a large clump of trash and leaves, in a dark and muddy crevice, was what appeared to be a crawfish. It stumbled around a bit and receded into the muddy darkness that was evidently its home.
She pushed the twig tentatively toward the opening but didn’t push it into the hole. She often seemed to him to be cautiously balancing her aggressive scientific curiosity with a self-conscious respect for other entities’ destinies (as he imagined she might say it).
“Did I see a crawfish? In a winter puddle on a city street? That’s weird.”
“Crayfish,” she said almost silently.
The Day My Cigar Went Out in the Rain
You were wrapped up that day
in an old fur coat
we were splashing in puddles
in the lane
that was one day
I won’t never forget
the day my
cigar went out
in the rain
I was going to send
for the letters I wrote
to see what life
was like in the past
The times that we laughed
and the times that we cried
fall away from the light