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Maureen VonZagorski

A cumulus of nicotine looms overhead. Its tapestry labyrinthine, exquisite and phantasmagorical, all entangled, ever shifting and changing as if alive. The cigarette burns just to the right side of me, slowly feeding the toxic cloud a flexuous tendril of smoke. The sinuous ribbon of white threads its serpentine path upward. By degrees, the prolonged sway of the smoke's dance invites a rendezvous with the ray of sunlight, which has been issuing forth from the narrow window of my cell since I woke this morning. The tryst between char and concentrated sun is magnificent to feast my eyes on. Formerly a writhing reptile of gossamer non-flesh, the sunbeam resuscitates and revitalizes, causing it to transform into an ascending coil of vaporous particulate. Ruminative, I gaze transfixed, polarized in a catatonic dream-state of enchantment, awestruck by the utterly simple and yet ornate spectacle.

I wonder, Do I smoke in curious hopes of an intimacy with fire? “Hey smoke!” I shout. Smoke ignores me, obviously not interested in conversation. Again I yell, “Hey smoke—fuck you!” I exhale explosively and shatter the abstruse fabric of ghost's breath that was the masterpiece that held me so mesmerized. I grind the cigarette butt beneath the toe of my “prison issues.”

My attention now diverted, I peer out of my damned slender window and smile. Mischievously, summer has squat directly on San Diego's face. Dago wears her well. Dago yawns and extends a healthy dexterous tongue deep into the sultry, succulent flesh that summer offers. Summer's aroma is intoxicating—rich, raw and ageless. Summer arches her lithe back, her head stretches skyward, and wide-eyed she stares towards the heavens in rapturous contentment. Summer has always welcomed her seasonal companionship with this city, Dago.

Once again the city licks summer's nectarous glaze from its smiling fortunate mouth and prepares to bid summer an unready farewell. Soon now, the solstice will gracefully slip into her clutching, sheer panties and reluctantly surrender to her kindred, autumn. Dago will miss the taste and the delightful squirming of summer. Ahhh, but autumn too is naughty and not without charms and talents unique only to herself.

When Persephone returns to the underworld, so too must summer clothe herself. She will return again after the foreplay of spring. Mother Nature is kind to San Diego.

I light another cigarette.

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