Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Poem a Day (39): Smoke

Today's poem was inspired by a prompt word - smoke - from Leland Hermit, author of many books starring doggie heroes. So, of course, a pooch had to wag his way into this tale below. 
Thanks, Leland! 
If you'd like me to write you a poem, just leave a prompt word or two in the comments. Cheers!
Happy reading & writing to you!


So it glides, chasing circles,
Twisting between the tables.
A man’s hand reaches for it,
Flicking ash into a glass bowl;
Breathing it, devouring it,
Sucking it in and blowing it out;
It yields, twisting, turning,
Darting to and fro in the air.

He recalls a solitary wandering
Lit only by the memory of her,
This pale, faint slip of a girl
Running with dark hair flying,
Her sharp heels clipping stone,
Skirt wrapping itself, closing in
Tightly around her taut waist
Where his arms yearn to be.

It carves itself anew each time
This blissful memory recorded,
Becoming ever sweeter still
As he dreams the unfulfilled.
He breathes in the scent of her,
Imagining where she ran to,
Yesterday, in the wet tumult
Surging down in a crystal rush.

He sucks in the woody smoke
Blowing it out in a ring of white
That seems fruitless to bubble
As it breaks and fades to nothing.
She dances here on the tabletop
Where he flicks the greying ash,
Singing of life – a glimpse of light;
Reminiscences make him smile.

Turning the packet in his hand
He taps it against the wood
To a distant rhythm in his mind
In striking contrast to the blues
That hums from the old jukebox.
The cigarette shrinks to naught;
It burns his fingers and he drops it,
Squishing it in the curving bowl.

Getting up slowly, he reaches over
To the sturdy stick always with him.
The Labrador rises, brushing his legs,
Inviting his hands to stroke his fur.
“Attaboy,” he murmurs, smiling,
Knowing that time has come again.
Stumbling forwards, he trails his dog
To the furthest end of the noisy pub.

Out into the cool air and the dark day
He clicks the stick along the street
And in his mind’s eye she runs ahead,
Her skirt blowing up to her knees
While he rushes forth to catch her,
To sweep her up in his open arms,
Her raven hair flying in the breeze,
Twisting like smoke, wild and free.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

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