When we were kids
we used to have contests
to see who could keep a
candy cigarette going
the longest.

We’d puff
elegantly, pretending
to be James Dean or
Marlene Dietrich. We
wanted to be more
sinister and cunning
than we actually were.

In the aisles of the
Ben Franklin arts
and crafts store, we
reigned like bloated
tyrants with our
allowance money.

(In those days, dignity only cost 75 cents.)

We were never more ourselves
then when were were seven:

listening to the cellophane
crinkle as we rolled the
package of candy cigarettes
into the sleeves of our
thrift store t-shirts.