“Luckies”

By Reginald Gibbons b. 1947 Reginald Gibbons
The loop of rusty cable incises   
its shadow on the stucco wall.   
My father smiles shyly and takes   
one of my cigarettes, holding it

awkwardly at first, as if it were
a dart, while the yard slowly
swings across the wide sill of daylight.   
Then it is a young man’s quick hand

that rises to his lips, he leans against the wall,   
his white shirt open at the throat,
where the skin is weathered, and he chats   
and daydreams, something he never does.

Smoking his cigarette, he is even   
younger than I am, a brother who   
begins to guess, amazed, that what   
he will do will turn out to be this.

He recalls the house he had
when I was born, leaning against it   
now after work, the pale stucco
of memory, 1947.

Baby bottles stand near the sink inside.   
The new wire of the telephone, dozing   
in a coil, waits for the first call.
The years are smoke.

Reginald Gibbons, “Luckies” from The Ruined Motel. Copyright © 1981 by Reginald Gibbons. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: The Ruined Motel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1981)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Reginald Gibbons b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Youth, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Reginald  Gibbons

Biography

Born and raised in Houston, Reginald Gibbons earned his BA in Spanish and Portuguese from Princeton University, and both his MA in English and creative writing and his PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University.

Gibbons is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry, including Sparrow: New and Selected Poems (1997), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize, and Creatures of a Day (2008), finalist for the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Youth, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.