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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Smoking with Carol

page 177

Smoking with Carol

Filter tips, then menthol, lastly roll-your-own
with geriatric threads of tobacco hanging
and lick-spittle sealed. Come

you used to indicate, rolling two
in the laundry and carrying them
with the plastic lighter in your fist

out past the swimming pool, around
the Virginia creeper to the seat
where smoke could float over an entire valley

and quickly dissipate. You lit
yours first, I positioned mine
into your cupped palms or kissed

edge to smouldering slow flaring edge
breathed deep, as if we breathed together
for surely conspirators' breaths are synchronised.

Often mine went out, or I left the end
not asking for another kiss of life.
Company or conspiracy were better

than any vice or discovery (later)
that the giveaway lighter had been left behind
and, for breath, there were peppermints

or a pre-dinner drink: white wine
and smoke dissolving together, Cloudy Bay
and our complicit smiles, smoke screwed-up eyes.