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  4. “Luckies” by Reginald Gibbons

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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)
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