Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer



When it’s almost too dark to see,
my uncle sits out on the back porch,

rolling a cigarette, holding it up
to his mouth for the lick.

He’s trying to remember a boy
from the next farm lowered

beneath the sod in a slow rain
fallen more than fifty years ago.

Striking the sunset of a match,
his worn face flares up an instant.

The green wicker chair creaks
when he settles back, head at rest

against the siding, white smoke
clouded around him, coffin lining.

Taking another drag, he picks tobacco
from his lip and, for a moment,

the empty quiet stares back at him.
He knows nobody has a name for long.

Ron Stottlemeyer
Ron Stottlemeyer is a retired professor of Medieval English Literature. After a long career as a teacher/scholar, he is writing poetry again. He enjoys amateur astronomy, Middle-Eastern cooking, and being taken on evening walks by his Australian shepherd, Teddy.

Featured image: Time Out by Hernán Piñera. CC license.

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