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Menthol Cigarettes

Mother smoked menthols, keeping a couple packs open 
so she could not tell the size of her habit. 

She'd pick her lip reading Cussler and King -- 
tv droning a background night; 

Mother never slept much. Menthol creeping ghosts 
drifting about her house. 

I'd lay awake wondering what made her unhappy, 
kept her smoking, reading in dull unnoticeable light. 

Mother, a mystery three or four notches better than 
her chocolate smeared paperbacks. 

Mother, a question mark print muumuu, bunned hair, 
secluded - midnight lonely. 

Summer night menthol smoke drifting out and in through 
window screens, hugging the side of her house, 

mingling with honeysuckle, hanging in my room ethereal, 
a harbinger of insomniac nights and my own smoky ghosts.

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