I like watching her on winter nights, matching her cigarettes with the frost in my breath, undone by the thick grey ribbons that spool from her lips and wrap themselves about the air. All the machines read three degrees. A record breaks somewhere. ‘There is always worse,’ she says, voice still clouding between puffs, ‘but we have each other.’ I breathe into the woollen netting of my scarf and try to catch some warmth. Wood smoke rises in the distance, wisps over suburban hills, and I wonder what it feels like to watch a thing burn itself to death.

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