Burnt Offerings


I am ten thousand cigarettes
Burnt offerings and rusty hinges
Yonge Street at twilight
Endless paper cups of last sip coffee
The breath of winter over Lake Nipissing
A fistful of crumpled ticket stubs
Eighteen withered rose petals
Occasionally headstones in the moonlight
Rarely writhing fingers white knuckle clenched
Sharp white teeth under Snow White’s blood red lips
A collection of ragged wounds in various stages
Of closure, decorous, almost bejeweled
Personal stigmata worn as war medals
Or the ribbons a magpie would use
To adorn its nest
Thirty five spent candles
A new taper almost spent 
Lingering traces of whisky and smoke
The bitterness of myrrh on the tongue
Feeling of ashes and honey upon the skin
Clinging like new fresh death
All of the thoughts you can’t find the words for
Cannot express save in listless sighs
A susurrus of autumn leaves
The presence you feel when you enter an empty room
But mostly,
Just the ten thousand spent cigarettes. 

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