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

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