the bench had rotted,
wood growing soft and pliable
from months of too much rain,
mold and algae forming
in never-ending puddles;

so we tore it apart
and pried out the nails,
left them to rust on the patio table.

the bench, we burned.
a rain-ruined copy of
Norton’s American Literature
we ripped apart for kindling
watched the letters flicker
and fade into smoke

rising above the summer night
filling our throats, our lungs
between sips of sweet cold sangria.

I could smell it in your hair for days.