The twins are gentle women with matching speech impediments: identical mouths that cannot make an R in a country where R is growled. But I am quiet and foreign, it is dark, and they talk and build a fire and talk about building fires when they were girls.
Our host, a man from the Bering Strait, plays guitar, tells stories about border crossings and border guards, and goes in for the night. We are left: the twins, a businesswoman who is sour to things, a Ukrainian girl with braces on her teeth, a girl with a pale round face who helps in the house, a nearly deaf woman with a mute foreign man. We are happy but, to be good, I ask two loud laughing couples to come to the fire. They have just driven out of the city in one car.
The carload talks about what they do, which for the woman with the permanent is speech therapy in a prison. The rest of us are there in the dark. The twins grill bread and shish kebob and pass it round. The businesswoman pours wine. We lay wood on the fire and watch.
A black salamander walks out of the fire. When we take it in our palms it is soft and shining and as cool as the grass. We turn it over and its belly is an orange pattern of flame. We leave it near the wheat, which is green still, and it disappears. And when we go in we go in.