In the cold itís hard to tell whatís steam and whatís smoke.
I can see the stuff leaving his lips, same as always,
drifting upward like the hands of a clock at noon,
thin and stringy like a broken spider web,
shivering and swaying in the sharp breeze.
That cylinder like chalk candy is perched between his fingers,
the same way a child holds anotherís hand.
Higher the cloud floats like stacks spit up by nuclear power plants,
like storm clouds and fog, like the spread of blood in water.
But I see the happy white camp-fire drizzle and miss
those lazy summers where he lit a match and sparked my imagination.
Or I see the pillowy bunches he breathed out of the chimney at Christmas.
I see it leaving my lips, and floating up amongst all the other stuff
And itís an inert thing, a frivolous thing, something I can live with,
And not at all the thing that killed him.