Smoke: The composition of smoke depends on the nature of the burning fuel and the conditions of combustion.

Intense flash of light,
Spark; just shy
Scent of frictioned phosphori
Fragrant from the first haul

Strike again; click click, no use.
Teasing, tantalizing sinews billow through the interim dark
It will take one more; one last drag
On the side of the little black box
As the ember ignites into vibrant white light
Hot flames shoot from the head of the wooden stick,
Flirt dangerously with the pointed index
Thumb, itself, narrowly escaping the rush,
Feels warmth on its calloused crust

Quick now, light the tip
Of the dry white paper slip
Before the inferno edges your peripheries
Danger, depth, deviance
As the fire thrusts ever near
Move in to kiss, avert your eyes, you’re almost there
Come closer, Dear, my precious one;
Please tease my zenith no more.

Ah-ha, it lights
And now we’re on
Take a puff, a gasp, a drag.
Combustion of earth-grown wares, the cylinder on fire
Filled with dried aromatic herbs, fruity flavor, and addictive chemicals to boot

The French, Aztecs, and Mayans, too
Religious ritual to all.
Of falsehood, fact, or faith
To the demon inside who needs his fix:
The craving is the same

And here it is,
The quiet tame
Inhale, swallow it down
Behind tightly pressed lips
And tar-stained teeth
It nourishes the hollow

Hold it down
As it smolders deep inside
Don’t fight back,
It feeds your empty soul
And nourishes your vacant void
Unoccupied the space now is
Like the depths of your mind:

No need to worry, slow it down
Now that you’ve had at least three pulls
Let it sit in your hand
And watch the smoke rise up
Gray wisps dance in circles ‘bout your mitts
And torrents trickle past your nostrils
The fumes mingle and kiss
Tippy-toe the steadfast Tango
They slide and sweep and salsa past
Scarlet ashes bent down low,
Which whither to the ground and die
An ancient dance, a lover’s game;
Resolute Russian Roulette

And as you watch, and cultivate your crop
You think of how it feels so right
This sport which you adopt,
No matter that the window is down
In your onward speeding car
Or that the public signs
Prohibit you within
The confines of a smoke-free room
Co-workers shut you out
In the cold, public exposure do you find yourself
Even your family keeps you at bay
When you light up the gloomy sky

Still you continue on.
Because the mischievous sprite must wet her thirst
The imp hankers his desire
And so you, too, must evict your appetite
For the smoldering blaze,
Strike, Spark, Flame, Simmer, Smoke
Conflagration at its best.

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