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W. S. Di Piero
W. S. Di Piero
Poet, translator, and essayist W. S. Di Piero was the first recipient of the Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize from the Academy of American Poets...
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Smoke

 
by W. S. Di Piero

We loiter in the cobblestone alley,
Beans, Clams, Yom-Yom and me,
smoking punk. Snip the wiry stem,
trim the nubby end, scratch fire
from a zipper then pass the stink around.
William Penn designed these blocks
squared off, brick, crosshatched by alleys
to prevent the spread of fire. So fire
runs down my throat, reed
turning to iron inside my lungs.

Yom-Yom has an uncle in Bucks County.
Country boys sneak behind barns and puff
on cedar bark. Smokeís the only thing
we have in common. Smoke when our breath
meets cold moist air, though no smoke rings
in winter, while sullen cars drag gray on gray
down city streets or country roads.
Someday Iíll smoke Camels, my fatherís brand,
then Gauloises to prove Iím stronger than him
in burning whateverís inside that wonít sleep.






Excerpted from Chinese Apples by W. S. Di Piero Copyright © 2007 by W. S. DiPiero. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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