Cigarettes

One at bedtime. Letting

the lungs fill with larceny.

The night. The blue darkness.

The smoke that carries

the mooncloud into the room,

drifting toward you,

your head against the headboard

waiting to face the firing squad,

no blindfold necessary, just

the cigarette, please, and a moment

to speak with the corporal

who has his sword hoisted

into the air. Pull up a chair,

you say, and then you tell him

about Christine. Three hours

straight you enjoyed each other

the night the car alarms finally

had it out with the mockingbirds,

only to rest once or twice.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em,

you whispered to her

as you rolled away from her

Montana hills and reached

for the pack. It always ends

this way. Your best moments

more willing to gun you down

than your last regrets.


(first appearance in Slipstream)

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