Dove and Menthol Pillows
by Timmy Chong
You keep smokes in a soapbox. Past midnight
put a towel under the door and run warm water,
hold our cigarette up to the ceiling fan. Spit
and say the scent still sticks to the walls,
and ma doesn’t know, but she knows, you know?
Some nights you thunder like a storm
or stumble like a child.
You wonder aloud when the fuck you learned to sin
in stride. Chime it was sophomore year
you traded the Bible in your backpack for
a lighter in your pocket, you didn’t mind
aside from the youth group gossip.
Some nights you thunder like a storm.
You bristle no, that I don’t get it. That every boy
who’s laid in this bed has claimed common ground.
Flustered now, like there’s a line between us
in the ridges of the linen and the quiet
is crisp as shame.
Some nights you stumble like a child.
Dizzy off a trio of benzos though I pled, you press
all that is suppressed into shapes with soft edges.
Write wilderness, and wilderness, and love
‘til kingdom come, call it
Some nights you stumble like a child
or rumble like a storm,
but in the mornings
you are unstrung out
and you, and
you are making toast,
singing in the slack.