Rolling its light body between the flat

pads of my left fingers, the cigarette

is trying to be so beautiful that

although the smoke lingers, I can’t keep up.

I practice my smooth draw awkward

as first anything.  How to hold it? 

When to breathe?  I can’t keep the wreath

of smoke from stinging my eyes. Giving up 

makes you weak though, that much I know-- and I

haven’t learned to blow ghost rings.  So

to use the new body I’m growing in,

master its oversized limbs, I smoke

the rest of the pack in a sitting.  Except 

one, which I give to a guy who’s quitting.



First published in Rio Grande Review

Winter 2011