Lost Poem by Marilyn Francis


It’s a Monday morning in November
and I’m in a coffee shop named
after a character from Moby-Dick
outside, a young kid with wet hair
smokes a cigarette in the rain 
he flicks ash with his thumb
flick, flick. 

I haven’t smoked cigarettes
since I stopped being Juliette Greco
and gave up Gitanes, and the cigarillos
from G Smith & Sons tobacconist 
on the Charing Cross Road
but today, while sipping espresso
at the window of an American coffee bar
in this English tourist town I thought
how much I’d been missing them
not just the smoking, but the whole 
paraphernalia, slipping off the cellophane
sliding the silver paper, tapping out one fag
from a snug row, the firework-night tang
of a scraped match

and the names 
Sweet Afton, Passing Clouds, Sobranie Black Russian
I’d buy them for the poetry. 

I remember my first time
ten Gold Flake from the machine
between three.

I remember my last time
watching the empty packet
of Camel burn in the fireplace.

If you liked Marilyn Francis, you should read Stephen House

Red Silk Slippers by Marilyn Francis

About the contributor

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