I wrote this poem for a class this semester:
The Smoker stands in the yard, unaware
that she is watching him. She stares
and stares and lets her gaze
roam from cloudy fingers to grey face.
She knows him, knows him well
and wonders what other things he didn’t tell.
She hadn’t known he smoked.
The Smoker thrusts the dirty pack
into his back pocket. Black
charcoal stained thumbs and palms,
evidence of an artist with no qualms
against tobacco. Once a child who knew no pain
he feels like an old man standing out in the rain.
His sketches deny innocence.
The Smoker feels years of cigarettes
twisting, twirling pirouettes
in his lungs. With a tightness inside,
guilt and convictions collide.
He’s kept his secret, not wishing
her to love him less for puffing.
He thought she didn’t know.
The Smoker remembers the first time
He lit up a stooge and crossed that line.
Borrowed a butt from a woman once,
a woman from work whom he didn’t trust.
He’s never admitted
that he is addicted.
Yet he always keeps a pack close by.
The Smokers been bumming smokes for so long
he’s forgotten that she thinks it’s wrong.
It doesn’t matter anymore
what she thinks, or that they’re poor.
He loves the way ciggs stain his breath.
and thinks that they're the only thing left
that prove him an artist.
The Smoker smokes like a stick of incense,
He's a mosquito coil full of pretense.
He sprays himself with cologne before
returning inside, he starts his chores.
“Hey, mom,” he asks cheerfully,
“What’s for dinner?”