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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.


Also by Jonce Marshall Palmer

If this planet once again becomes swampland

One Cigarette