I’m sitting and I watch the old man from the street rest and unfurl from his linen
a pack of Dunhills.
He twists off the cellophane and eyes his catch with thatvintage gleam
of noon-stripped old lowlifes, naked,
howling at their cigarette moons.
Cars and their drivers blur on by, each turning their heads as if to say
yes man, light that cigarette for all you’re worth.
Yes, man lights it.
Draws each drag out long like a bones player shifting keys.
He exhales each time only
a whisper of thin smoke-suns that twist, convulse mid-air.
I have a moment when I think of my father and I
driving along an afternoon’s length of country road; we could’ve been both fifteen
and I feel as if right here and now I’ll weep watching this old
new nomad smoke,
pulling our car breakneck along the asphalt,
filling the valleys and valleys and valleys,
hauling us through them,
here to someplace to every place,
maybe, most likely, somewhere unideal,
where infants are born dead but still live.
My father and I, our cities become flame, the skyscrapers strip the blue skies,
haul from the seas
an urgent thunderstorm now upon us all and still.
The old man smokes.
Almost at the filter now.
Watching our cars roll on by.
Looking with those eyes at each and every person as if to say
yes man, go on your way, go on your way.
Wellington High School