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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets
(2006)

Whitcomb, Katharine, 1960-
Tobacco heart,   p. 70


Page 70

 
Tobacco Heart 
I dreamed a silhouette hazed in elegance, flare between her lovely fin- 
gers. A siren-self, chanteuse. Such a charmer. And who could resist her?
In Prague and San Francisco, Wisconsin taverns, living rooms in 
Alaska-She whispered Have one. With me. You and me together and 
him too. All of us in dragon-smoke, at the kitchen table where I spoke 
a Sanskrit poem with fire in my hand. She whispered Darling. 
Sometimes, palpitating and sick, I placed one hand pledging allegiance, 
the other on my stomach and repeated my name Katharine until I feel 
calmer. And I know this part is over, done to death, all this noise. The
gestures and pacing, the coquetry. All those huddles over flame in the 
wind, brother and sister of it, mingled sex, map made of burning. I 
reached for contact; brought it into my mouth like religion. 
Katharine Whitcomb 
Poet's Statement 
The intimate nature of smoking with people suggested to me using personification
as a way of capturing the seductiveness of the activity. The title refers
to a medical 
condition that occurs when you smoke too many cigarettes in succession and
your 
heart palpitates. 
70 


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