Second-Hand Smoke | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Second-Hand Smoke

I could filch a beer sometimes,

but not smokes. Cigarettes were held

in the first hand. Cartons stacked

in the hall closet next to the 100-pack

of matches. Plastic and foil for freshness.

Five kids, lungs coated with soot.

The second hand stuttered through minutes,

hours, the etc. of our lives in that yellow kitchen.

Yellow, yellower. Coffee mugs stained brown,

browner. Also, the paper bags of choked bottles.

Also, the lit match and the wrist shaking.

The red eyes of our mornings. Dark outside,

but it'd get lighter. It had

no choice. We inhaled.

-- Jim Daniels

Jim Daniels lives in Oakland and teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. His new books include Now Showing (ahadada books), Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies (Eastern Washington University Press), Mr. Pleasant (Michigan State University Press) and In Line for the Exterminator (Wayne State University Press). Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on independent radio, WYEP 91.3 FM.

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