Smoking in the Fifties

January 8, 2015

Three men sit in the Middle Georgia living room.
No central heat, a window AC in the kitchen
A floor fan whirs

Ashtray tables stand on a woolen rug next to each chair

My Grandfather, my Father, My Uncle
All the men smoked

The women served coffee
The men talked
Of politics, fishing, and the weather

I was little then
And watched with fascination
Their cigarettes grow shorter
the smoke swirled in the air
A heavy mystical vapor

My grandfather crossed his long limber legs like a woman
He tapped the ashes
He inhaled a long draft

I inhaled more second-hand smoke than I have ever had first-hand
We all did
In restaurants, on airplanes, in movie theaters

The car windows rolled up
We coughed to no avail

Now I sit in my car with the window down
The ashes burn gray
I tap them with my yellowed index finger

I am my Daddy’s child
His twin
He sits in the den
No more ashtrays
My mother serves him coffee
While I watch
No more cartons in his top bureau drawer to steal from
He quit twenty years ago

While I smoke on..

I Would Have Missed the Narcissus.

I think about leaving
Go west, old woman
Climb your mountain
Follow your trail

But I come home from work
Turn on the light
My feet hurt

And there on my kitchen table,
the narcissus bloomed!

Crocus, Hold Out Your Hope

January 5, 2015

Purple bravery
Pokes through the snow and last fall’s leaves
As I recall

I can see them now
With yellow centers

Their petals pert and innocuous to the wind
Their uncanny resilience

I would like to be like the crocus
But not this January day

Rum Cake from Jamaica
Round and moist sits on the coffee table

Champagne flutes
Crystal with gold rims
Grace the tray

We wait for midnight
But decide 7:00 is fine

We can’t wait to pop the cork
And dive into the cake

It is dinner

Daddy sips the sparkle
Through a straw
I feed the cake to him

“Mmm”, he says
A smile on his face

Mother states in her best French accent,
“Let them eat cake!”

We make a toast to each other
To Life and a New Year

It is a fantastic way to spend New Year’s
I can think of no other