Depression and loss look much the same
along life's hedgerow; still, differ
as hawthorn from holly, as grape from pear.
Loss is a coin tossed down a well
until you hear the plunk of water and weep--
in depression you never hear the coin
Nicotine, like Benzedrine,
has antidepressant properties.
Deprived, the mind shudders
like an old engine.
Who will pull this train?
I think I can, I think I can,
desiring this man's art and that man's scope
the sea has jaws and a gray-green coat
what hangs from the jaws is pulverized
to pebbles until the shingle rattles
before an otter floating in caramel kelp.
This disconnection, stoppage, hesitation, grappling
for numbers, addresses, details, sans nicotine
I mourn the vanished power of the chemical reign!
V Their Fault
My parents smoked, it was not unpleasant.
It was present at Christmas
with the holly wreath
in the brown couch
with the little nubs
and legs of wrought iron
from which my mother
read Hiawatha to us
My mother smoked
when I was a fetus.
Bad, bad mother.
My mother withheld
her nipples from me.
Mean, mean mother.
She tried but failed
to nurse my older brother.
Weak, weak mother.
At birth I knew
there was something even better.
I was born for cigarettes.