Smoke

That trick we learned in late
childhood from a dare or taunt: to pass

a finger quickly across a spurt of flame,
lighter uncapped or taper lit— Enough

to feel the singe but not the burn. Next,
thin parchment rolled and tamped and passed

from hand to hand, communal draught
of dry ash, duff inhaled: one of us said,

It’s just like inhaling paper! —some kind
of picturesque notion in her head of how the leaf

now lived or moved inside, its spirit curling
around our heads like wreath or wraith,

bequeathing secret visions to new
acolytes, sophisticates.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← LibrettoWhat’s Written is Not Always What’s Heard →

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