Unfolding, February Sketches #2

The last butt rests in
the muddy snowbank.
Tobacco embers fade —
in the streetlight stillness
the evening wanes and
nothing has changed.
A smoky taste in my mouth,
my throat in automatic gag
revolted by the lingering poison.
My eyes become damp and
every nerve in my body fires,
first nausea rising from the core
then a short moment of bliss —
a second before ecstasy, a flash
of postictal goosebumps.
Where was my strength of heart
when I channeled carbon dioxide
into the wheezing chamber of my chest?
I spit on the pavement, a car drives by,
then I swivel on my boot and look through
the glowing windows of my apartment building.
People are playing, laughing, studying, reading.
I stand in the chill of the starving month,
wondering about my eventual undoing,
morphine before the great unfolding.
Lackluster, fragile, an old man dreaming.


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