Hair and Smoke

The hair on my arms, newly white

a sun-bleached preview of old age

I think of my father’s arms

once, carpenters’ arms of bunched sinew

and dense muscle

now, the arms of a boy

whittled away by age

rendered hairless, side effects

from a dozen daily tablets


he sucked half a century of smoke into himself

until his lungs revolted

my childhood memories often cloaked in hazy shrouds

yet, I sit here by a pool, sky-watching, lilting toward a dream

when smoke, hidden in warm breezes, finds me


I breathe it in and tumble back through time

my father, the butt of a pencil behind his ear

brow pursed in concentration

eyes unblinking, the obligatory cigarette

and that glorious haze

a hammer in his right hand

a ready chisel in his left

and his arms, half as old, twice as young

the hair on them still black



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