Lipstick traces (022)

by tiresomemoi

Lipstick traces, 108 bd Raspail – 8 April 2015Lipstick traces, 108 bd Raspail


Elegy for Smoking


It’s not the drug I miss

but all those minutes

we used to steal

but all those minutes

we used to steal

outside the library,

under restaurant awnings,

out on porches, by the quiet fields.


And how kind

it used to make us

when we’d laugh

and throw our heads back

and watch the dragon’s breath

float from our mouths,

all ravenous and doomed.


Which is why I quit, of course,

like almost everyone,

and stay inside these days

staring at my phone,

chewing toothpicks

and figuring the bill,


while out the window

the smokers gather

in their same old constellations,

like memories of ourselves.


Or like the remnants

of some decimated tribe,

come down out of the hills

to tell their stories

in the lightly falling rain —


to be, for a moment, simply there

and nowhere else,

faces glowing

each time they lift to their lips

the little flame.


Patrick Phillips