Por­trait of my fam­ily as a pack of cig­a­rettes

New England Review - - Recolllections - Melissa Stein

I'd barter your life for a brief or­ange flame & a lung­ful

of peace. My whole fam­ily was like that, to­bac­costained, curl­ing

a lit­tle at the edges. Singed. When­ever the wind rose, a few

blew away, easy as an ex­hale, & we let go in the way one does

with pa­per, smoke. Un­til the box lay empty, on its side,

in some dump. Now and then cold hands would fum­ble it, in hope.

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