Poems and Poetry

Smoking at 10 Below | A Poem by J.K. Durick

They’re out there, even on a day like this;
I’d like to say “huddled” and paint a sad
picture of them, the few survivors aging,

and their breaths, a constant steam rising,
their smoke adding to their defiance of nature,
the nature of the weather weathering them,

the nature of public housing, the rules casting
them out, to stand roadside, only four today,
gathered, an interest in common, a habit that

holds, has held this long; devoted followers
gathered, heads bowed, hands cupped keeping
their smokes out of the wind, the wind chill

chills enough already, the ritual is hastened
along, but holds; it’s almost eight and ten below
the end is near enough, two of the four walk away

and, or is it “but,” two remain, persist, survive,
they light up again to await for whatever ends this;
closing words freeze, like an amen in the breeze.

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