|Image by R.A.D. Stainforth
You used to smile and say,
Whenever you lit one up,
Placing it between your coral lips.
I’d watch you wave the match, to
I liked the rustle of foil
As you slipped one out,
and tapped it on the table.
You were such a beauty then—
Hair coiffed and nails done;
You smelled of Chantilly and ashes.
Men turned their heads,
Until too much suck and blow made them
“Cold Turkey” was the only way to go
In those days.
(You never had much will power.)
I caught you hiding a pack
In the bin at the back of the counter;
You put your finger to your lips and said,
“Don’t tell Dad.”
(I never did.)
Fifty-two is too soon,
For a heart attack.
I brought you a basket of marigolds
from your garden.
In the parlour,
Everyone remarked how much you had changed.
(Along with the obligatory sleeping line.)
I bent to kiss you in the casket,
Inhaling the faded scent of Chantilly,
And ashes, one last time.
The above poem is the result of a prompt for The Mag #149. Please visit to read fine interpretations of the image at the top of this post. I missed contributing earlier as it was in the midst of the Christmas/New Year business.