By Gabriel Gbadamosi

The roots of my habit
Inhabit the time
My father smoked
In the closed rooms of his lungs
When we were young
And could float
On blue carpets of smoke
That rose
From the mouth and nose
Of adults
Disclosing their invisible secrets.

Older now, and short of breath,
Those blue
Bravura clouds are gone –
I know the likelihood of death,
That in my mouth
A cigarette’s
The ectoplasm of a fraud
That all began when I was bored
And made a séance
Of a childhood trance.

Once, on reaching
For my father’s hand,
I woke
To realise he was dead
And took instead a cigarette,
As though,
To finally give it up,
I’d to let go
Of what I’d lost –
The rope of gently rising smoke
I tried
To hold his breathing ghost.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

"Valediction" is reproduced with permission of the author.