He’s finally gone.  I know
I promised I’d quit this.


But as his engine turns over, I make sure
His car roars away.  Lock the door.  Strike


The match.  Not a lighter, a match, box-
Strike.  Light the candle.  From the wick,


Singe the brown paper wand.  Only one.  Quick,
Crank the sash.  Four turns, not three.


Long honey fingers make artful wings.
A swirling white plume of smoke, a cloud.


Inhale.  Hold.  Savor.  Feel
The limp scrolls of wetness balloon my lungs


Into a Susquehanna fog.  Anxieties billow
Out of fleshed grottos, through sheers.


Damn this infernal haze!  A blunted mind
Makes its exodus, takes flight with breath


Blazing over rooftops.  A steady drizzle
Drapes thin as cellophane.  Reveals stark,


Gnarled limbs of green.  A variegated cat
Perches atop a post. It does its dance


Cross the high wire, shooing a fist of blackbirds
Out of the darkness.  They leap away


Into an eternal blue—to lariat the red eye of dawn.