fertilizer. The sun went down behind our house while I was mixing dirt for the planters. Momma must've turned on the porch lights 'cause I didn't even notice the sun was down until I looked out at the green color of the street light on the corner. I filled the boxes and cleaned up while Momma finished her pitcher of martinis and the fireflies filled the space between our porch and the street with tiny green sparks.
She sat in the swing at the end of the porch with a cigarette burning between her fingers, asleep. I put out the cigarette before it burned her, or fell down and burned a black oval like all the other sooty marks already at her feet from when she drank too many martinis sitting right where she was now. Momma was snoring just a little with her mouth open and crooked like when she smiled, only without the shiny open eyes that made her smile electric like a flash of lightning.
I sat down on the swing with her and propped up her head a little and waited until she woke up to tell me like she always did that she was just resting her eyes and then she would ask me what she missed and we'd go indoors for the night.
"N.B.," Momma said as she took off her garden apron. "Tomorrow you and your little friend need to go up to Freed's Mill and get some black soil to fertilize those beds for me." She was real sleepy when she said it and that made me feel like I was being her when she used to put me to bed as a little boy only I didn't tuck her in the way she did me.