David Hickman

The Smokers /Fernand Leger

Squat men with cigarettes

Score the village with smoke and ash,

Its rooftops obscured

by billows of white clouds

in a slow-motion turbulence

of their exhaled breath.

It is difficult to tell the factories

from the smokers. As the burning shapes

haunt the cravats

of the men who inhale

the fumes of their slow self-immolation.

And in the ennui of their own regret

rise as if to the vault of a ceiling,

that was built to imply

a ratiocination,

that is and was

as inevitable as death.