One Cigarette

No smoke without you, my fire.
After you left,
your cigarette glowed on in my ashtray
and sent up a long thread of such quiet grey
I smiled to wonder who would believe its signal
of so much love. One cigarette
in the non-smoker’s tray.
As the last spire
trembles up, a sudden draught
blows it winding into my face.
Is it smell, is it taste?
You are here again, and I am drunk on your tobacco lips.
Out with the light.
Let the smoke lie back in the dark.
Till I hear the very ash
sigh down among the flowers of brass
I’ll breathe, and long past midnight, your last kiss.

– Edwin Morgan


I was caught by the opening line – who wouldn’t be? And it builds in a quiet, unassuming tone of voice into this moving love poem without having to make fervid, sweeping declarations. I can imagine the poet quietly smiling to himself, smiling at himself, the depth of his emotion catching him off-guard.
You can read the other poem of his that we’ve run, Subway Piranhas, here. You can also read an interview with him here.

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