Smoke Break
by Bill Glose


Huddled against butchery’s battered bricks,
immigrants cup cigarettes in shivering hands,
taste ash. Sweet scent of flour
from the bakery next door is as lost
as the moist kiss of fruit
lounging in baskets across the street.
Acrid wisps uncoil from mouths,
slip like nooses around necks
while February howls
over cobbled stones, sails
down streets these men
in crimson-streaked aprons
will never see. After shoes
crunch life from butts,
calloused hands return to what they know
and a warped wooden door slams shut
behind them.






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