Doris Ferleger

Smoker
by Doris Ferleger

When you spotted the deep pucker lines
around the young woman’s lips, you whispered

in my ear, Smoker, as if you would never
die. Putting your lips to ice cream only

on your birthday, breathing no smoke, cutting
all fats, I thought for sure you’d outsmart

your genes. Then I remembered what you used
to advise your patients: If you eat for health

and don’t smoke you won’t necessarily live
a long life, but it will surely feel like you have.

You planted the hardy smoke bushes just after
your diagnosis. I never knew exactly when

you were being funny.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 1.

Doris FerlegerDoris Ferleger is a winner of the New Letters Poetry Songs of Eretz Prize, Montgomery County Poet Laureate Prize, Robert Fraser Poetry Prize, and the AROHO Creative Non-Fiction Prize, among others. She is the author of three full volumes of poetry: Big Silences in a Year of Rain (finalist for the Alice James Books/Beatrice Hawley Award), As the Moon Has Breath, and Leavened, as well as a chapbook entitled When You Become Snow. She holds an MFA in Poetry and a PhD in Psychology and maintains a mindfulness-based therapy practice in Wyncote, PA.

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