Ashes

smoke in the neighborhood
always hangs north of your house
gray braided with amber

what are you burning
that spins such elegance and funk?

growing up with an eccentric mother
means I use light to find home
because cigarettes, fires, and stoves were off-and-on

I love the gas street lamps
our town kept when everyone else upgraded
decades ago; now I use mason jars
and rope bulbs with hints of Italian hillsides

but you, only have your sullied smoke

Kimberly Sailor, Mount Horeb, WI, is a 2019 Hal Prize finalist in poetry, with poems also appearing in Sixfold and The Bookends Review. She is the author of the novel The Clarinet Whale. Sailor is the current editor-in-chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board, and holds a publicly elected seat on her local Board of Education.

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