Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Last Cigarette

He leans into the recessed doorway
Hand cupped to protect the flame
Guides the tip of his last cigarette into that dancing wraith
She doesn't like the habit
He doesn't like the sewer mouth after taste
But the ritual is enough to calm his nerves
As he ponders his next move
Rain fills the narrow vista
Beyond the oblong mouth of the recess
And the orange glow of a street light is a smear of lavish
Whore's make up in the puddles gathered along the gutters
He can't be too sure if he is weeping
The cold is like a punch in the nose
But the hot breath of cigarette smoke calms
As much as it clams
Sharpens his mind, he recalls
Her fading smile, the dimness of the light dying in her eyes
When she told him she no longer felt for him
The way he felt for her
He'd only just said those three words, thinking
That is what she wants to hear
But it's too intimate, this was a passing phase
And those words are a manacle, chaining her bony wrist to his
It was a promise she had no plan to keep
So he pounded the pavement, three blocks away
In the driving rain
Found the gap in the mason work to pitch this last flame
Blue grey cloud destroyed in the downpour
The last cigarette drawn down to the butt
Before with a deft flick, discarded;
Discarded like his heart
No doubt, she'll move on; they always do
They always have
And he will clutch his wounded heart tighter
Frozen it is with vehement ice
Cursing love, cursing life, his misbegotten need for poetry
Everything within his narrow grasp
At length, in despair, he wears instead of a coat
He will take that step from the plinth
Into the rain
Into his future
The last cigarette tossed like a coin into the wet
An augury, a machine of fate
Or simply a change of perspective
Tomorrow is just another day