Lightning breaks across the sky
as I come to a building where
in a bright room, a man and a woman
share a meal with their smiling child.
The man steps up to the window
lighting a pipe, looking out, rain starting.
I sidle into shadow, hear my own breathing.
I have not seen anyone smoke a pipe
since the days when my father
who wished he had never married
smoked a pipe I gave him for his birthday
when I was growing up, not understanding
sexual tension, old jealous demons.
Imagining an aromatic waft of tobacco
I am, by now, thoroughly soaked.
Thunder rumbles in my head, my heart.
I wonder who else remembers that time
those past people, before marriages, divorces
wireless comedians, bread and dripping
work boots drying in front of the grate
the blackened bricks, burning coal
a time of childish joy with life’s miracle
my trust in that wishbone, the future.