Spring 2015

Edited by Andrea Spofford | Barry Kitterman | Amy Wright


The Pleasures of Smoking

Athena Kildegaard

When we children have nestled against
one another and the moon's light makes
the sand-bar we're on seem as if it will pull away
and float downriver with all of us aboard,
when the men have unrolled their pant legs
and the women, you included, are thinking
of removing your blouses, everyone has poured
another glass of booze, no ice, it's melted, and lit
a cigarette, or lit one another's, a come on, a tease,
because you're not sitting next to your spouse, he's
across the fire, and you're tipsy, everyone is tipsy,
and warm still from the August sun, August before
the men go back to teaching co-eds and radicals, so
you all inhale and exhale and between smoking
you disagree about will, whether we have a will,
because it seems now that someone has reduced
our brains to instinct, the psychologist has explained,
and it gets exciting the disagreement, the anxiety,
since that is what you're feeling, that maybe it's true,
this cigarette is not a choice, the man you'd never
really looked at before, the man next to you who
lit your cigarette, or you lit his, is handsome
in the bonfire's pulse, and you are sated,
absolutely sated with pleasure.

Back to the Issue Catalog

Related Selections


Picasso’s Pigeons

     It was the hour of the affair.

     I looked down from the roof of our attic apartment to the narrow stone alleys of Barcelona.

continue reading >


Freeze Frame

Paris,1939. The film stars Maurice Chevalier and Marie Deá, but I only know it through a two-minute clip. 

continue reading >


The Festive Revolver

By afternoon the black powder smoke had crackled and stung the air and idle gunfighters wandered the Front Street replica, a façade of clapboards pasted to the buildings behind them like Halloween masks.

continue reading >