The Nightly Fare

By Mike Fulton

I miss her because she was unpretentious and honest about how she made a living.

I miss her because she seemed relieved and happy to see me when she flagged me from the shadows of the French Quarter..

I miss her because she laughed when I opened the rear door for her every night.

I miss her because when I rescued her from the curb, she untied a knot of hair that became an avalanche of shimmering obsidian under the passing street lights.

I miss her because when I looked in the rear view mirror, her dark eyes met mine as if we were engaged in a long, intimate conversation.

I miss her because she sang Greek songs whose words I didn’t understand.

I miss her because she said that someday she would teach me what the words meant.

I miss her because she smiled when I joined her for a drink in her tiny apartment and panicked and spilled bourbon on myself because I was too young and scared to respond to the invitation of her smooth, bare legs.

I miss her because the last time I saw her, she leaned over the seat and kissed me and told me to come an hour earlier because she had a surprise for me.

I miss her because what remains of the bouquet that I bought for her is just a bundle of thorny sticks and dried leaves on the front seat and shriveled brown petals on the floor of my battered taxi.

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Mike Fulton grew up in New Orleans, a city possessing a variety of traditions, a variety of people and a variety of musical styles. He taught in the inner city, played music at night and drove a cab during his off hours for several years. He currently lives in western North Carolina and teaches at a small college.

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