Span of Smoke

I am sure you are dead
when five black crows follow me
from parking lot to side door
of the Muncie Rehab Center.

The scenario plays out in sepia tone,
flickering in my head for hours:
Mother is the one to break it to me,
voice full of pity—

knowing how I mourn for a father
who smelled like Home Depot
and, later, burnt cocaine.
I will ask every detail—

time of day, color of the couch
where you lost your last erection,
span of smoke trailing from scorched hole
to wall, where the bullet lodged.

This morning I can think of no other
meaning for the crows,
now cawing outside my window,
greedy, picking at worms.


Alysha Hoffa is currently a student at Ball State University earning a BA in Creative Writing. She is also co-author of the blog All Things Offbeat and the assistant poetry editor of the literary magazine The Broken Plate.

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