A woman in a white dress with smoke around her head
Photo by cottonbro via Pexels

Queen of smoke,
heaven’s daughter,
you were never more
than Apollo’s laughter
anyway, a puff of gray,
a miasmatic haze
of burnt tobacco
silver as solder,
dangerous like motherhood.

A hole in the ground for a church,
Facilis descensus Averno,
you muttered perched
above the fuming fissure,
mouth foaming, eyes shut,
but just try hauling your crispy butt
back up from the Inferno
and surviving the change in pressure

A spasm hit,
a cough, a shudder, then the chasm
split wide and in you tumbled.
Mid-fall you still mumbled
vague and irreligious prophecies.
Even then you chose
to be a breather of smoke,
a spinner of riddles
in this world whose
Great Challenge is not to understand
but to be understood.



Matthew Thiele

Teacher. Satirist. Scholar. Published in Slackjaw, Points in Case, McSweeney’s, Ben Jonson Journal, and elsewhere. Definitely not a robot. Or an alien.