Richesse, France, 1997

Sweet smelling European cigarettes flicker
in the shadow and I know it’s him sitting on the
stoop smoking and watching passerbys.
The worn brick steps of a hard building
from the nineteenth century. Relax.
I float on by in the morning and at night.
Laughter is suspended on the
perpetual cigarette smoke whisked around
upon clouds permeating under streetlights.
He is lax, and I am walking fast;
we exchange glances for the four-hundredth time.
I want to tell him this time that I can’t speak French
so he should stop trying to talk to me, but then
he puts the cigarette in his mouth and swooshes
his heart’s sooty smoke into the evening.

Tyler “Hrafn” Noyes


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