The Boy and the Cigarette


Amid the derisive humor

Of an Arizona winter,

Sweater-ed birds flock

In leather-bound boots

Wrapped in nugatory scarves

And I begin to question my

Own slatternly appearance;

But then I realize

When has fashion ever been


Arm in sling, I shamble over

To the pharmacy to numb

The pain

Of a mosh-pit fender-bender.

Crossing the parking playground

That surrounds these desert plains, I pass

a young tween(er);

That look of contempt

So easily mastered when

Puberty ensues.

With a swarthy countenance,

Stooped on a bench

He suckles

The ash-filled tit

Of a cigarette.

Its worm-like form

Swinging unceremoniously

From his pendulous lips

Like a bear with a fresh kill.

Its tendrils caressing

His hair

Like the ghost of a past


Eyes swimming dully

Across the deluge of

Newcomers and old-goers.

A song dangles from one ear

And I wonder

What he’s listening to.

As quickly as I came,

I went;

Skipping along like a kid

Leaving with a bag of goodies

From the candy store,

And I see

The boy and his cigarette

Oblivious, yet aware;

And I wonder

If I ever really knew what a cigarette  actually tasted like.

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