Cigarette Smoke – February 2015

Catherine Heath

February 2015

There’s something crazy about you.

The molten haze of eyes

Half-closed in ecstasy,

A form of fantasy

(The guise

Of all these parties).

And, indeed, I say,

This sordid wave

Of youths today

Knows solemn truth.

“Hang up the coats,

Put your cares

Away-- don’t dare

Delay another day.”

And, we swear

We won’t invent,

But find our

Own lament.


The alcoholic smell

And drying sweat

From the swell

Of aching bodies

Means we’ll get


You make me feel

A subtle kind

Of lust, entwined

In proper zeal,

The fateful promise

Of a kiss, or two.


And you?

“Did you hear me

When I spoke?”

Swerving in the

Cigarette smoke,

The horde of butterflies

Clutters my


And unnerves me,

Dancing as they do with rum

And gentle memory.

We’ll dust our hearts,

Surrender, some,

(I don’t think she’s the one).


I begged for tenderness,

But now we’re half-undressed,

And the familiar caress

Is like the fit of old shoes:

At least I feel something,

At least my heart moves.

Instead of the void, of nothing.

Hitched breath

And harried fumbling;

Hope the night

Can keep from crumbling.

“Is someone right

There, at the door?”

(I think this has been done before.)

It’s always good

When it’s new;

We know what we should do.


“If we proceed

At normal speed—“

“Our tongues entwining,

Do you see?”

(And our hips fit,

Like our lips).

Maybe we’ll see what happens.


Could we fashion looks

We tore from books?

Since we yearn for this:

The beckoning abyss.

We lay together,

Head to head,

Talking of love,

Sometimes, I wish

You’d listen,

Past the shadow

Of this vision,

To the whisper

Of my words--

“I’m sorry.”

But don’t you worry--

I’m not going anywhere,

For now.

And --if I can, endow--

I’ll clasp your shoulders,


Hold you close to me,

(May be so bold,

Or so I’m told.)

And we’ll pretend

There’s nothing else;

To help

Us escape from gaping wells,

Which open up below.


We won’t make too much fuss,

Because this

Half-forgotten glow is

Still enough for us.

Credit: Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash