I crave the stillness of rooms
full of smoke, after the party,
when all the guests have gone.
That’s when the poem is born.
Late at night, sitting at a desk
in the city, or outside of one,
the poet remembers those rooms
full of smoke. He lives in them,
a world of his own making.
He conjures the odor of ash,
the yellowed lampshade, the stain
of lipstick on a shard of glass.
Marc Alan Coen, also in the NEWYORKERS section of this blog.