Bali Cigarette

It was there. That crackle of fire between his fingers,
Struck with the second last match, it ignited the attack—
A thermal headspin ascending through twisting smoke,
Vapours of clove rising like temples from terraced fields,
To the warm neck of mountains. Some twenty years ago.

He knows this ambush but he is caught every time;
Smells the numbing net of smoke. Hears the village
Cocks crow. Sees the old men grin betel nutted teeth
Oily red with resin. Tastes coconut and honey wax.
Remembers how salt stiffened hair into ringlets.

Another tongue flames. Unhelmeted she rode pillion,
Into the mouths of Kuta sunsets. Down shaded paths
Of palm and two stroke. To be parked in photo albums—
Ordered memories stored for safekeeping. Just like the
Old surfboard now carried from one shed to the next.




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