March 2005 / Volume VI / Issue II
John Thomas Menesini

The Tobacco Shop In Bloomfield

grey hairs
yellowed mustaches
and a teased nicotine beehive
pre tracheotomy pensioners
in on the 3rd for 2 cartons of Newport

smoke behind the counter
in the aisles
by the door
who’s working and who’s just hanging around is indeterminate

“damn, I’m trying this year, this is the one.’

‘it’s all in the mind.’

‘my luck I’ll step off a curb and get smacked by a damned bus.’

‘what is, smoking or quitting?’

‘my wife, god rest her soul, smoked 55 years and died from sugar.’

             I get my pouch, pay, and leave.

‘you ever see that boy before?’