I google Santé cigarettes and the lady appears.
An oriental blonde with perfect brows, your guide, iconic,
who taught you to be ironic, indulge in pleasure.

This is the backward head tilt I infinitely mimicked,
regard de braise, unfiltered.
But never before have I noticed her white blouse.

Ready to fix a broken cigarette, a broken heart, perhaps
yours, mine, by wetting a flake of rolling paper
on her tongue, dressing its wound.

Up in the Pomak villages and mahalas,
another day of toiling in the fields is done.
It is summer, the sun is at its zenith

and the bright green leaves
are strung up in bunches to dry out
like rows of fresh octopuses and cuttlefish,

while you play with her hair in your pocket,
then tap your cigarette, your fingers nicotine stained,
her face like sealing wax;

letting the tobacco settle, so that it burns longer.
You do not rush your draws—this is the sun-cured
oriental secret—smoking for pleasure and living long.

About the author

Travelling is in Zoe's blood; she's Greek by birth, currently living in Paris, and her favourite places on earth are Scotland and Thrace. Although…

Read the full bio

Issue 21 · October 2014

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