The Smokers on My Way to Work
Banished, they stand apart,
alone or in pairs,
huddled against imposing pines,
figures restrained by an invisible
fence of taboo.
They lean in to protect
their minuscule flames,
in the scorch of August afternoons
or the sting of February mornings,
between April raindrops
and against November gusts.
Overpowered by cravings,
they give in, again and again,
deaf to the voices who
hard to be neutral I
feel anything but, as I
wait for the results
of another scan.
The first one found ground glass
in a lung.
I try to find somewhere to rest
my gaze —the textured light brown
carpet with coffee stains, the mass
produced art on the wall,
a forgotten blue windbreaker
hanging on a hook,
or the lively young receptionist
with unnatural pink hair,
but my eyes are as unsettled as my mind.
watermelon colored toes
painted by strangers
The Moon Smiles
Tonight, in St. John the moon looks
delighted, but surely its pleasure
is not just with our dinner
of fish tacos, jasmine rice, mojitos.
Or with the way the red pickup with the ancient
fan belt screeches up a hill.
Or at the sight of lone fireman who sits outside
Perhaps the moon is smiling
at the Moravian church listed
in the National Register of Historic Places.
Or because of the live music
from the joint down the street.
Or at the family of grazing donkeys.
How about the hand painted sign
“Pot Luck on Tuesday”?
Who knows why the moon is smiling tonight?
Is it smiling in camps
in Kenya, Jordan, South Sudan,
Tanzania, Ethiopia, Pakistan?
Is there a smile in Aleppo, Raqqa, Damascus?
Or on the streets of Paris, Jerusalem, New York, Boston,
Brussels, Lahore, San Bernadino?
Is it smiling at the third grade boy in North Dakota
whose only true meal is school lunch?
Or at his grandmother who chooses
between food and hypertension?
What about fifteen year old Tanya
who hides from her stepfather?
Or at the disheveled man on the street corner
desperate to tell anyone who walks by,
“ You too can be saved."
If you know why the moon is smiling at us tonight,
please tell me, as I think it is because
we simply got lucky.