she smokes like a chimney
she is brandishing an unfiltered cigarette

we cross a bridge
the coke-stink of this town hangs between us
like a tombstone

we pass the tobacco field
a green infusion into a rural wasteland textured with steel
and mountains     stripped of coal

there’s always snakes in the tobacco field
(she says)     I roll down the window

the sun ekes through empty branches
it breaks onto the slurping river
glinting like rows of tires in a junkyard

you know I told him to stop
(she says)     I told him

she crushes the cigarette between her fingers
I look at houses flying past like abandoned railcars
boards on the doors     gaping windows     sad sagging roofs

I really believe her this time
I forget about the snakes     (shiny black and thick as a tire)

yeah     (she says)
there’s always snakes



the sunday whirl



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