The glow under the bedroom door
from the muted TV.
I sketch in the spackled ceiling,
fill in faces with seconds
& I wait for Old Smoke to return.
His urn is buried
on the top shelf of our closet
because “underground is too permanent.”
He often sneaks out
for a chat after his daughter’s
sleeping pills kick in
& I greet him with a stale cigarette
he bought tax-free on the reservation.
He has cut back from three packs
and has never felt better
in all his life, he winks.
He asks how it tastes,
how his grandchildren are doing,
if we’ve yet sold his place,
I blow four rings his way
& watch them break upon his face;
a kiss, I say, from each
family member. Before he goes,
I ask him to take his pack and
put it back in its hiding spot,
his urn. Shove it way down
into his gray bones and skin,
into the dark place
his daughter never dares to dig.