You’re crumpled into an angle
by the hot August streets,
no damn different than the crooked,
hardly salvageable, one-eighth of a smoke
you snatched up off the concrete stoop
of this store as I walked in for my coffee.

You managed stretching it out careful,
saved, up between your lips and lit
before I’d made it to the coffee counter,
savoring it so painstakingly as I stood in line,
pinching it close and inhaling down the find
like an evaporating gold. With fingertips,

gentle and dirty, capable with a something
useful once with other skills, some trade
long resented by now, or so terribly missed
a man can never really go home.


Larry D. Thacker’s poetry is in numerous including Spillway, Still: The Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Appalachian Heritage, and others. His books include Mountain Mysteries, Drifting in Awe, Voice Hunting, Memory Train, and the forthcoming full collections, Feasts of Evasion and Grave Robber Confessional. His MFA in poetry and fiction is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Visit his website at: