“A SUMMER CIGAR” BY NICI E. BROWN

Recently, I ran into this poem and thought it was fantastic. I know it’s the middle of winter, but I think maybe that is the best time for a summer cigar.

A Summer Cigar

Glass splits burgundy into facets
through the crystal ball of a wine glass
that has no power to tell the future,
only quiet it down to a numbness.
I have to laugh at the idea
of a ten dollar bottle of wine paired
with a ten dollar cigar.
It takes four matches to light -
What hidden pleasures
will the thick, spicy smoke enhance
in my cheap Malbec?I hear the neighbors cursing at each other,
taking the stress of back-to-back retail jobs
and a janitorial position during graveyards
out on the family they work for,
the bus hydraulics hissing from Meridian,
an immigrant grandmother laughing as she ticks
off hopscotch numbers with her first-generation
grand-daughter in between planting
her soon-to-be blooming annuals in the neat
boxes of her tiny Garden of Eden
in poor East Boston, a pristine space, the only thing
still sandwiched between calamity and the sea.

Smoke curls from my lips
to cast about into the breeze.
I have to keep pace with the cigar
and carefully note the wind’s strength.
If I smoke too little
the flame will go out.
Sometimes I think we could break with the intensity
that’s in the beauty of a single moment in our own skins
but the taste is fleeting,
quick to be scattered away.

Life only deals out
happiness fractured into fragments
here and there, from time to time.
For some reason, I always reach
for the same happiness recipe
though I never have the same ingredients.
You’ve got to learn to cook what’s in your kitchen.

It’s been a long winter, so
get drunk on summer, and spin
what love you can from the warm air.

When the cigar burns down,
the closer [it] gets to my lips, the
sparser my breaths become, or
it’ll burn too hot.

READ MORE POEMS BY NICI E. BROWN

READ “A GIRL NAMED AMERICA” BY ME, BRICE MAIURRO

Interested in having a poem featured? Email me at bricemaiurro@gmail.com. Please just one submission at a time, until I get back to you.
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