His voice is rough from smoking since he was ten.
How can a kid even imagine that’s fun?
He said it was like cheating, and cool back then.
I recall my stepdad smoked when I was young.
At his desk, layers of smog, patterns of grey.
He worked, unmoving, for ten hours at a time.
How is it that I think smoking is okay?
The smell, his skin, vanilla, tobacco, pine,
the perfect place, a forever coming home.
That voice exists in the rough place I call mine,
that secret place kids go when they are alone.
It wasn’t cheating, not then, and not this time.
The patterns of vanilla and tobaccos
he leaves in layers on my skin when he goes.
…from the collection “Hard Rime,” this sonnet was Published in Rat’s Ass Review, 2016