Mother chain-smoked,
leaving lipsticked butts
in plastic ashtrays,
where they sent up
wisps for hours.

Now, wildfires out west
blow their dark clouds
of sadness eastward
to muddy the skies
over Lake Michigan
that used to be blue.

I sometimes think
I have spent my life
trying to breathe.



Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, ParisLitUp, Journal of Italian Translation, Acumen, and other journals. Her most recent book of poetry is EDGES.(