by Fabrice Poussin
What a man will do for a cigarette
holding a large bag in one hand
a broad smile in the other.
It is sometimes hard to make out
all the words from a distance
through the earbuds of one’s private world.
Intent on the needs of the day
busy at the state-ordained task
I guess all he wanted was a smoke.
Generous for the desperate need
he offered a gleeful trade
two Dr. Peppers for a Pall Mall.
One can only imagine the disappointment
of the man, lonely as he was
pondering Christmas behind bars
when he heard a response
but how many still smoke as they walk
on a leisurely morning?
He seemed like a good fellow
far from the black and white bus
condemned to the worst.
Another day without his nicotine fix
and I ask myself if I too would commit a crime
by finding what he then wanted most.
Poussin is a professor of French and World Literature. His work in poetry and photography has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and hundreds of other publications worldwide. Most recently, his collections In Absentia, and If I Had a Gun, Half Past Life were published in 2021, 2022, and 2023 by Silver Bow Publishing.