Monday, September 08, 2008


She never smoked but carried matches -
to meet interesting people, she said,
by which she meant
interesting men.

'Got a light, darling?'
She always had a light
for anyone.

I married her in a bright January.
She grew bold, approached
strangers in the street, non-smokers.
They understood the itch and scratch,
the flame glistening in her cheeks.

March, I took up the habit,
coughed my way through
a packet of twenty. She gifted me
a lighter.

April, she moved out.

What does a man do when love
isn't enough, when little by little
it burns to a butt-end
and drops to a car wheel?

I bought a pipe, packed it
with the finest tobacco,
spent years of evenings waiting
at the corner of our street.

Rob A Mackenzie

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