Lindsay and Matt sneak cigarettes
She is entranced by her brothers insults,
finds herself wanting to crawl into his inner
ear and listen to the thin reverberations of the
sound of his voice as it bounces back into
his consciousness.

She is often thinking about Germany,
about combing Irish mythology into
the obscure French poetry that she
constructs from sitting in on college
lectures and the books she reads.

Lindsay and Matt share a cigarette
while leaning over a washing machine
in the mudroom of the old house corner
lot of their childhood. She thinks that
she would like to buy a pair of black
boots but she does not have the money,
she wonders what it would have been like
to have been John F. Kennedy's lover,
what sexual positions he would have
preferred because of his bad back; she
muses that when she takes the nub of the
cig to her lips it does not taste like
her brothers mouth, just the spice
of autumn, hot nutmeg and cider behind
the ancient screen doors.

There is a neighbor-stranger-father
burning leaves in a tin garbage can
in the street, there are children yelling
somewhere far off down the labyrinths
of avenues that make up her childhood.

Matt calls her a dyke, slams the door
behind him in a cloud of used smoke
and the harshness of his grandfather-like
creased forehead, the corners of his
mouth that have already begun to drop.

She writes about getting high with him
in the old tool shed, fills her journal
with perfect imperfections, reworks
their childhood, forgetful herself now,

years later, when she gives birth she
will remember the shared cigarette,

she will twitch and take deep breaths
while driving down the turnpike – the
baby in the backseat asleep, having
to teach herself to drive without
the company of so much smoke.