I could see my father leaning on the fence,
cupping his chin in one calloused hand,
a smoldering cigarette in the other,
tracing, retracing, its path to his lips.
Though his back was to me,
I could picture the flare of the cigarette
reflected in his heavy lidded eyes,
shadowing the deep creases around his mouth.
My breath rose in feathery plumes,
vanished, and rose again, undaunted,
like the trail of my fathers smoke,
a haze of silver against the black sky.
I watched it mingle,
my breath, his smoke,
and pretended it was a conversation,
filled with words we would never say.
(Previously published in Zephyrus.)
I cleaned out my desk today,
fed my trash can two years worth
of crumpled grocery receipts,
removed all the paper clips jammed
into corners, like tiny metal mice.
In the second drawer on the right,
pressed between blank stationery
and a postcard from Tennessee,
I found my shopping list from last Christmas,
topped with your name.
I’m blinking up at the dark ceiling now,
feeling the smoothness of writing your name,
remembering the way it felt to speak it aloud,
tasting the ease with which it slipped from my tongue.
Lesley Doyle is a junior year student at Western Kentucky
University, majoring in English literature and minoring in
creative writing. Lesley was a finalist for the Dr. Jim Wayne
Miller Poetry Prize, and is currently an editor for WKU’s
student literary publication, Zephyrus.