Ash on the Sill – Lorraine Carey

Ash on the Sill
That’s how I was rumbled,
as the wind sought revenge
when I blew my chemical smoke rings
into its night. Its sooty quietness
gulped the tar, the nicotine sharp,
a harp string plucked
on the back of my throat,
ragged and sore from
John Player Specials.

I used to keep butts in my
denim jacket. The stinking waft
crept out during Biology
through pocket corners
and narrow slits.

The final smoke before sleep
was my favourite, staring
at the tangerine glow
of prison lights across the river
that flowed into Derry.
We’d two purses for coins,
one had heads of a Queen in reign,
the other stags and salmon,
wildlife jingles whose tinny
sounds made us feel important.

Thought I was careful
with my monitored flicks,
onto stones below, but no,
I kept the window open
and back it crept, landing silent
as a feather whilst I was still at school.
My non – smoker mum, certainly no fool,
though I did try, to deny
the ash on the sill was mine.


Lorraine Carey is an Irish poet from Co. Donegal. Her poetry has featured in the following : The Honest Ulsterman, Poethead,  Proletarian, Vine Leaves and Live Encounters, among others. Her debut collection From Doll House Windows was published in May.

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