Poetry: Man Who Smokes

by Christopher Raley

The man who smokes holds his thoughts with finger tips
and rolls them like the rosary beads of morning.
Every slip of action, every fault of line
is a meditation for the great strength of always future.

Last week burdens clutter spaces of now
like little shards of broken glass landscape the road.
The man takes them in, one by one, slow fingers at his lips,
and draws thoughts upon the debts at his feet.

Last week clouds clear blue and dying green to shine brighter
a contrast that will grey and brown hills for summer.
The road that climbs between the market and the church,
the dark-trunked olive trees that shade the blinkless goat chewing—
life is a frame for staring while time taps ashes to pavement.

Sometimes a car crosses the fault-line of past to horizon,
and the man who smokes purses his lips and points his squint toward freedom.

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