: Cigar :

by Travis Mossotti


There's death and then there's ash. This is the latter.

I follow the smoke of it from a cigar’s gray crown to air

on its way to becoming nothing, which seems better

somehow than following the river that haunted Apollinaire:


sous le Pont Mirabeau coule la Seine, he said,

and quickly the night came and went leaving his lines

embossed in implacable bronze. I carry the dead

weight of words. Each one is lowered into the mines


of these poems like a miner. Each one has a headlamp

that switches on when I speak its name.

When I say cigar, one end grows a little damp

on my lips while the other assumes the color of flame.