Book Match

Back when I smoked, as the son of a writer
& a librarian, the book match
was like a brother to me.
Once torn from the book
it couldn’t go back, while smoking made me
an exile from the air.

We both had a tendency to lose our heads.
I was skinny as a heron’s leg;
a book match isn’t even thick enough
to qualify as a match stick.

It’s a minimal page
with just enough room for one word
beginning with a lower-case L

& ending with incandescence—
a holy word, a profane word,
a word for (forgive me) a kind of match.
It’s so worn out from overuse
I hesitate now to let it pass my lips.

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