241. He had milk for blood and not even half a cigarette for every sin in him.

242. The frown on her face a wrong bent staple, the sort of mouth that seemed to not even have a place for a cigarette to fill, she graveyarded the room with tensed shoulders and looks in the direction of the window meant to be piercing the flesh of poor Michael.

243. Looking a mud puddle in the borrowed coat, he flicked cigarette to wall-boink-pavement, the motion a dart, quick, hiding salamander, pushed his way in the already a crack open shop door and asked if it was alright he just come in to dry off, get a little warmth to his face.

244. Crust of sleep window-silled both eyes, belch breaking the drain clog down his throat, ghosts of the cigarettes he’d breathed down all night—not ghosts fucking ghouls.

245. Three old letters from his father, the aged pencil lead now was like the thoughts had been lettered by cigarette, three old love letters, two to his mother when she was his mother, one to his mother when she was some girl he didn’t know how to spell the name of right—Mya, the salutation read.

246. Even just starting the orgasm he felt his cock shrink, flop down, a wet anthill, Kellie still moving like she wasn’t sure (or hadn’t noticed) he’d finished, then just lolling to one side, sitting upright to the wall that doubled as headboard, the crinkle of the cigarette pack she already knew from earlier was empty tapped, fisted to a ball, the pit pat of it hitting the wall, the carpet.

247. It was the fourth time he’d lent the man a cigarette, but the first time he’d heard his old man’s voice, crumb filled, words were flakes discarded from shoe bottoms, speech an unvaccumed carpet.

248. Perhaps there was energy to their collaboration, enough it might even be called a friendship—perhaps if looked at closely, investigated with a patient rhetoric, but at just a glance they were merely entities next to each other, day to night, week to week, month to year, their interactions handled with the precision of cigarette machine operators.

249. Timid, Carlton didn’t trust his impression, too many ideas had soaked to his understanding of people, too much weight of general wisdom to trust his own take—these mothers, while their kids played, seemed sitting with eyes lusting cigarette tip smolders at the fathers, the unattached men, at Carlton himself, but he could not move himself to approach a single one of them.

250. Last night her slumber had been viscous, dreams like plump black lips of dogs, she’d woke with mouth too dry for a cigarette, throat too sore for coffee, no appetite for even the bread she was toasting, knife, butter spread tub already out, opened, tap running water but she not touching the cup she’d taken out from the dishwasher.

251. Shakespeare, tarnished engraving on the cigarette case she handed across—lighted fools the way to dusty death it read—he wondered if she’d be impressed he could finish the line, moved a shoulder around like a wind up but said nothing, suddenly unsure was this Macbeth, Lear, one of the Richards.

252. The hospital always seemed the color of a cankersore, the façade seemed to positively bruise with the combined longings of the dying inside for a cigarette or an honest laugh at one of the jokes occurring to them between pen marks from nurses and stethoscopes to their now purposeless ribs.

253. The pen leaked through his shirt pocket, pores leaked bourbon through his light lemon cologne, mouth leaked cigarette over the day’s salt coating his lips, pocket spilled coin after coin into the payphone to keep the conversation going, though the conversation had already gone rotten.

254. If he could be seen from above it would be quite beautiful, a dot on the bridge he crossed over the faucet rush of traffic—exhaust from city buses, taxicabs, commuter cars, long traveling goods trucks, his own and the cigarettes from others walking the bridge a cloud layer under the cloud layer above him over this cloud layer beneath.

255. Cynthia curled the ideal smirk, her city bought cigarette not even bobbing.

256. This duck billed little woman, she’d beamed so pleased with the ketchup through her little meal it didn’t surprise him at all that she utilized the squeezed contents of another whole packet to stub her finished cigarette out in.

257. Samuel patted the steam damp towel to his face, soft of it impregnated with a sour scent of mildew and his brother’s cigarettes, replaced it back over the bar more neatly than he’d found it, already regretting his fresh shaven face in the blur glass reflection.

258. Under his touch, her breasts gave like mealy apples—the cigarette was still in his mouth, his chin on her shoulder as she likely stared off malcontented (but no, she took the smoke from his lips and put it to hers and said ‘Last time.’)

259. Time seemed reversed, the cigarette of spring lit by the flame of the not arrived summer.

260. At least the radio was coming in again Johnny are you queer? no change to the blankscape around him I went down Virginia dotting through the dial, everything under static eyelids and punched my cigarette a real tease of something great on every drinking a pina colda at Trader Vic’s goddamned middle of noplace wavelength.


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