The Weight of the World
By Seth Goldfarb
I walked by the old dorm today and found
the short of a Camel Light on the ground.
“God smokes Camel Lights”
She always said it with a smile.
Even if it meant gritting her teeth,
she always said it with a smile.
It’s just one of the many things that will
always remind me of her,
that I’ll always remember her by.
There’s always so many things to
remember her by;
and the ones before,
and the ones that came
The people who have inspired me the most
always tend to be smokers, for some reason.
She left town a while ago, and
I haven’t smoked too many cigarettes since
roughly around the same time.
Trafalagar, Vice Admiral
By Jennifer Gray
Sixty dutiful ladies are out at sea today,
trading jabs in a light breeze for colors raised high.
The Royal Sovereign and Victory jibe together,
leading a merry waltz that rakes through the line.
“England expects that every man will do his duty.”
Sailors tighten lines and haul out the irons
with only salt and sharp tacks for armor.
The swells roll them forward and sea legs shift
surely, legs that have forgotten the consistency of shore.
“Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at them!”
There’s a short man, a tall man, with a guillotine
waiting behind the line at sea for the crew of a prize.
A feint to the vanguard, a quick tug of pulleys that shape
the sheets, as an eye tracks shifting ripples across the surface.
“This is too warm work, Hardy, to last long.”
Stiff wool is creased in starch authority
and the Vice Admiral adds his own touch.
The figurehead rams through and the line is lost,
the ships flee, watching as their fellows catch cannon fire.
“May humanity after Victory be the predominant feature.”
Achille’s in flames and the butcher’s bill is paid,
a last bullet from the nest rounds into dear Nelson.
The sailors cheer, three strong Huzzahs, they say goodbye
and ask the sea to be kind for home is still leagues away.
“Thank God, I have done my duty.”