Smoke by Patricia Nelson


Angled like the waves
are extinct lovers
who say time and distance
with a silver light.

Their breaths still rise
distinct as ions, commemorate
their thoughtless pulsing—
thoughtless only in the moment.

They are the grey dissolving opal
at the tip of the flame,
smoke undulant with stone and fish-scale.

They lift the weight and shine
not wholly seen
but gathering everything.

The space
between burning and nothing.



Patricia Nelson is a retired attorney who has worked with the Activist group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird, Poetic Matrix Press.


Detail of painting by Georges de la Tour. 

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