Chickamauga Sharon was a licensed mortician--
she could rock a back-tied smock
and cook the books, too.
Her lips left long enough to the ear of a stiff
would have them up off the stainless steel and gone to the liquor store,
picking her up a snort
to get her through the afternoon.
Sweet little me and Chickamauga Sharon--
what a hot mess that was,
both of us all over the place and warm to the touch.
No telling where one began or the other left off--
setting the drapes on fire,
filling the flaming heart of the best June on record.
Chickamauga Sharon stayed sweet until July--
that's how I learned that what starts out hot
doesn't last very long.
She got cooler, and came back to herself
like a candle burning backwards,
gathering its wax skin and going out,
down Lee-Gordon Mill Road
to a meeting.
Every night at 8,
she sat at a table in a church basement--
straight and cold as an unlit taper,
with only the tip of her tongue to play
the innocent wick;
not telling who she really was,
or where she'd been--
just a jasmine-scented girl
waiting for the right red-head to smile and be
her next struck match.