A Woman at Veradero

At 15 I watch her buy Cuban cigars
and I can tell that she carries the taste of smoke
wherever she goes. Its richness hangs
about her like sleep,
a golden mist of many suns and hieroglyphs:
she reads hands and cocked hips
like they are a language that is not dead,
only resting.

When she breathes tobacco dust,
it is not escaping but returning to the earth,
to the leaf and the burnt orange field.
I think for a moment,
I should cover myself in a blanket of fertile soil
and only ever bathe in rain,

but I remember I have heaped
my bags with some sea glass
I found alone on a murky beach
and held to my eye, looking inland from the shore.
Miles away a stone-carved saint
scowls at the skyline smog.
She smacks a stick of chewing gum
and cracks her teeth on concrete.

It comes from deep caverns
in subterranean whispers
and it comes on the breath of a woman:


By: Madeleine Quirk

Madeleine Quirk lives in Kingston, Ontario. She is in her senior year of high school. In her spare time, she enjoys reading poetry and singing with her choir.

Visual art by John Michael Dee

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