All the tales he tells are told with one foot in the cellar, down where the furnace breathes its fiery breath to warm the dwellers. He dreams of heat that reaches past the walls where he’s confined. But if he is denied he’ll freeze as if he’d never tried.
Will he ever be so bold to dare the fatal fangs of cold, that he would one day turn his glare from phantoms on the basement stair? And tell her what was needed told, that he’d love her till they were gray and old, and ever after, evermore, and this he swore upon his soul?
And the kitchen’s silence was like the hush of a theater. Faintly through the floorboards ticked the waking water heater. That night she looked like someone took a poem and a mirror, that all the world would see its secret beauty if it’d see her.