The night was warm and windy like this one
when her headlights caught a quivering.
She pulled over, drawn through prairie grass,
and we put down our drinks, lean our elbows on the bar.
Shells in salty hair, mermaid on her forearm,
she tells us with a voice like the tide
that the fingernail moon was enough,
that she was called to the fence by Orion,
low in the Eastern sky,
and to the sweet thrashing owl barbed
like a prize, like a king, like a ship on a shoal.
She bent to him, to earth-brown wings,
and he went limp to her touch.
His eyes were big enough to see the stars in,
and she swears she did, got lost.
It was a simple matter to pull wire
away from heart, and she did,
and he paused, lighted on the line, thanked her
before giving in return:
spreading his great scarred wings
and up, up, silent— became her lucky star.
She laughs quietly like lapping waves,
pours more whiskey in our glasses,
says this is why she doesn’t sleep.