Mi Tarea de Vocabulario

A smokey twist
rises from a cigarette
above the bent nubs
of four others
in an ashtray.

My Spanish tutor
practices card tricks
in an empty room
but fails to conjure
the three of clubs
from thin air
thickened with smoke.

My arrival
for my lesson
shoves her cards
deep into a red
woolen pocket
as my halting words
relay I left
my vocabulary
homework
in a parking lot
truck cab
that is by now
eighteen-wheeling it
west on I-40.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Breath Mint Tin

Milkweed butterflies.
Tartan picnic.
A flower petal dress.

A girl sips tea with dolls.

Her innocent lips.
Her mouth says, open.
No sesame. No forty thieves.

A girl locates a half smoked cigarette.

Hidden in the dirt.
Behind the milkweed
as she sought stones to serve as teacakes.

A girl picks up pieces of a broken promise.

Her fingers run the puzzling edges.
Her fingers peel the white paper.
Tobacco oils stain her fingertips.

A girl pinches her nose.

She traffic-cops her dolls.
There are seven intersections between here
and her bedroom.

A girl sets the paper and tobacco down.

Adjacent to her mother’s lipstick.
Between two citrus scented candles.
On top of her Altoids tin.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney