Smoke

by Lakshmi

your eyes were like myna’s wings and dark
with distress and delight stamped into the iris
thin phantom white hair like cotton in the light
smoke above us in weaves and ash scrapings
and it wasn’t smoke that killed you, not exactly
but it wasn’t smoke that saved you when you went
they came with bouquets green and sweetly white
miasma cobwebbed by the stifling incense

strangers cried and my heart was frozen in time
i still could taste the warmth of silver fumes
as clearly as i could late last night at dinnertime
when you were laughing, when you were alive
sometimes when i awake to darkness at three
swear something’s burning, smoke rising to my eyes
i blink and it’s all gone, only a trickle left
but the whiff of burn pours into my lungs

you’re not haunting me but i miss you all the same
so if this is what you’ve left behind, it’s fine, it’s fine
it’s fine.

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