One Cigarette

Jonce Marshall Palmer

—after James Wright

opened a door
that lead to a porch,
a familiar place for
a poet. & every time
I take one Regina has
to be my darling gay
mom and tell me that
I don’t need to start
doing something that’ll
kill me, as if we’re not
already destined for a
ditch somewhere, a cell
sold to a state more
lucrative than any chain
of hotels. Most of the time
I puff on, not in, wondering
when my mom will notice.

led to a room
without a wall, in which there
was light not nearly dark enough
for sleep & not quite bright
enough to see in without strain,
a cantaloupe color that wishes
it could be felt in the golden
hour, a piss color of stains left
on my teeth from honey glaze
& honey blunts for honeybun,
a darkness in which twenty
bodies slept & snored & shared
a silence. This was a color I hadn’t
anticipated to see spark from
the white stick in my mouth
yet there it was, that candied fire.
Outside on that porch, we talked
about our own little yellowing pieces.