cigarette before dawn

before dawn, I curl myself
into a single cigarette
and forget for a moment
that I am anything other than
lips, than smoke, than
the act of exhaling

when I write such things,
I am shifting the silences
into a semblance of meaning,
wrapping words around the hours
too late to be called night,
too early yet to be morning

and I am grateful for
the hard end of the bench
I press my back against
while I wait for something –
anything – to progress
beyond the gray plumes
that loop the air before me

© Sarah Whiteley

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the morning commute

this morning the rain had let up
just long enough during the night
that I was able to make my way down the walk
without worrying how deep the next puddle
too wide to leap would be
half a block ahead of me walked a man
whose dark jacket folded him into the gloom
but I could smell the heavenly clove
of his cigarette and inhaling deeply
thought it’s a damn good thing I keep mine
in the drawer at home safe from fingers
itching to light just one, which would turn
into possibly three, a missed bus and a wrong
perhaps deliberate turn down the wrong street
for a long pause in a certain small cafe
where the purple walls would hide me
from the workaday and I could settle to the task
of drinking a few too many cups of coffee
and everyone else can turn the world without me
but the man headed left down the alley
and my cloves were tucked in the drawer
six blocks back and there I was
with a for once on-time bus thinking
I may as well get on

© Sarah Whiteley

Things will be on the quiet side here for a while. Not a hiatus, really, but just working on a very exciting project. I’ll be keeping up with reading new posts, but the writing might be a bit on the thin side over here. But trust me – it’ll be worth it.

Cheers!