A Nickel For Every Time

December, again. Bare trees scarecrow the woods. The crunch of leaves underfoot reminds me of those jawbreakers she used to mouth, cracking at them with her back teeth until a molar broke. She’s stubborn like that. Check out her eyes when she’s not getting her way; there’s a storm brewing. Last summer I picked berries in these woods. A bucketful. It wasn’t the first time she called and said she’s suicidal, come quickly, and I take the long way, stop by the brambles, pick the dark, glossy fruit. I arrive and she isn’t dead so I don’t confess. Ran outta gas, babe, I lie. I left the bucket of berries in the car. Evidence. She stares at my stained fingers. I’d like a nickel for every time you’re late, is all she says.

The drama is killing me. I’m trying to stay away, ignore her calls. She thinks she owns me. Never mind I’m a fling. Married, and she knows it. And now all this suicide crap, like looney is hot, and it is. But it gets old. She’s left the straight razor on the sink, next to the toothpaste and floss. I light a candle in the bedroom, proposition her, and comme toujours, she’s ravenous, easily distracted. She tugs at her pants, tilts onto the bed, legs spread wide. I fall onto her, my mouth seeking her sex, thumb on her already hard little clit.

Loveliness, thy name is Martina, I whisper, reveling in her perfume. She moans. Shudders. Sucks on my berry-stained fingertips. When she comes, her feet dance. You know me so well, she says, spooned. Spent. Uh huh, I murmur, my lips in her hair. No, I think but cannot say. I don’t know you at all.





Poet/Photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Verse Daily, Plume, Diode, and elsewhere. Her ninth and tenth books of poetry, BRAZEN (NYQ Books) and TRIGGERED (a feminist response, MacQueens), were published in 2023. A hardcover book of her photographic portraits of Southern California poets will be published by Moon Tide Press in early 2025. A multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she lives and creates in the Mohave Desert with her husband, Fancher. They have an extraordinary view. To learn more, visit: www.alexisrhonefancher.com