Her smoke blows mint, but the words
land hot and fast, a friend elated
to puff her first cigarette at thirty-four
years, open to head rush with a child’s
mirth. She sits on a cooler
between two buzzing compost bins,
the alley behind the health food store, not
quite forbidden. She is exhaling, exuding
energy, eucalyptus crisp.

I know how she arrived
at the alley, but not how she made
peace with being a body
of warm breath while I hide life
like a pomegranate: a jealous
queen securing soldiers in
the rind, sacred pips sarcophagus, you
peel the skin, you invite decay.

The secret is you knead the heart
out in the dough, fold away to
midnight ticks. Never sleep. Never
dream. Then you can’t change or age
or die. Or sprout mold (I’ve watched
a passport grow mold. I’ve let
a lover grow old). Never hope. Never

until the lit tip at the back door makes
me question, makes me choose.

1 Comment

  1. Love “eucalyptus crisp.” Wish I’d written this.

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