September 20, 2009

For My Grandmother

by me.

Tense the lips, just so,
and receive the smoke into your lungs
as a gift, that small, un-hoped-for
zest with your morning oxygen.
Hold it there,
just a moment.
Delight in that burn
at the roof of the mouth
and leisurely, through the nostrils,

release.

Even when you've taken your last drag
and the ash is ground into dirt,
you can breathe that musk
in your jacket,
on your fingers, its secret
residue in your mouth, near the soul,
to be savored when everything else
fails.

This is something you know.
A thing familiar in the midst of the life
Made unrecognizable to yourself.
You sometimes can’t help but
think of the things you meant to do,
failed to do, did
with a sense of obligation rather
than passion. You sacrificed yourself
on the bier of duty and didn’t even
do it gracefully, didn’t even know why.

But this is something you know.
The moment flame is released
from metal and plastic catch, and sweet
acrid aroma lifts from containment in
white paper, you move
in a space made fluid by instinct.

You can, for that moment,
forget a life so easily fit
into the six by four inch picture frame
sitting at your desk.

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