Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Midnight Smoke on the Porch

I can see why no one really wants to give this up:
the tongue burning as though with wisdom,
the tongue that feels rough as a cat's,
the fingers that gesture with controlled flame,
a daydreaming conductor in the night.
It's an excuse to spend seven full minutes
staring at the moon.

Just me on the stoop, a little maudlin.
I imitate how you used to hold your cigarette.
I can feel in my body
when I borrow your gestures
how you must have felt then, young
and sexy in your thrift store finds,
your mod gold velvet,

coffee and cigarettes at three a.m.,
a girl at your side, a whole
lifetime to talk. The only reason
to ever get up from the table
was the cigarette vending machine,
its emerald green glow in the lobby.
Complimentary matches at the cashier's.

Do you remember that diner?
Has death made an improbable angel of you?
Can you see and recall everything
without pain? Or is death
the cessation of memory, and isn't
that the point
of suicide?

Who am I to say? Only
your insomniac ex. I'd like to think
I come and go for you in intervals of light,
just a small bright thing in the darkness,
the way your memory envelops me like smoke,
the way my hands, just for now, smell like you.

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