Smoke rising against a faded pink sky.

is a survivor. It rises in question marks
as the bonfire dwindles like a love

that can’t quite remember how
it got here. It spoils your good coat

after the Irish bar, shimmies up walls,
across ceilings, settles over the beds

to choke the children. Better not sleep—
keep watching. It builds a gray

umbrella over the industrial park
in the distance, rushes whole villages

from their homes, rises in fat columns
then out into whorls whether scouts

roast marshmallows or scientists rub
atoms together. All this, and what I

think of first is how it wobbled
toward my finger in delicate rings

after leaving my father’s lips.

Photo by Stefan Funke, used and adapted under CC.