by N. Andrew Spackman
The air above my parents' roof is cold. It pushes smoke back down the chimney. I turn off the fire alarm and open both windows, but my wife and I still can’t breathe, so I hang a wet towel from the mantel, next to the Christmas stockings my mom made for us. On mine she needled baby. The one she made for Kathy is black with soot. Beneath the smoke, Kathy and I drink eggnog. On our hands and knees, we lap it up like kittens. She hides her hands in my hair and sponges my face with kisses. "Be soft," she says when I bite her lip on the hide-a-bed. That night, in dreams, I stand before her, black with soot and tempting. She says all she wants is a pomegranate.