Guest Post: Laura Rodley “Smoking”

I’ve been trying to write a post on giving up something for Lent, but I am still working on it.  Smoking is something I’ve given up a number of times.

Here, Laura Rodley captures why it attracts, rather than repels.



My father’s brand Pall Malls, hands off steering

wheel to light his, then flick off searing

leaves that stuck to his lip, happened each trip

sixty miles per hour, I worried we’d flip


over, he contentedly pressed the gas,

driving faster somehow made pleasure last.

My sisters took up habit of smoking

no fears for them of early croaking;


no one they knew had succumbed, room filling

with smoke as if in a bar, the thrilling

lift of nicotine hitting a bulls-eye.

Later my sister couldn’t quit, and tried


over and over again, echoing

“It’s a filthy habit,” father’s saying–

loud in her ear; she loved it so, delight

to watch smoke curl over porch, a kite,


and the tiny stopping of time each break,

chores on hold, decisions, too, an intake

of smoke to settle her down for the night,

infusion of well-being, it’s all right.


Laura Rodley © 2015

Laura Rodley received a Pushcart Prize for her poem “Resurrection,” (originally in The New Verse News and  now in Pushcart Edition XXXVII), and she  has had work published in Best Indie Lit New England, Massachusetts Review, and Hunger Mountain among others.  She is editor and publisher of As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, a compilation of memoirs from seniors age 70 through 95.

Former co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing.

More recent poems by Laura Rodley featured on The New Verse News include  “After the Bad News,” which appeared January 23, 2015 and “Snow Before Thanksgiving, which appeared on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014.

Laura also writes features such as “The revival of green fields at Hettie Belle Farm,” and “The Tucker Technique and the Equine Dentistry School Online,” for Country Folks, the Weekly Farm Paper Highlighting Agriculture.

She has two chapbooks from Finishing Line Press: Rappelling Blue Light and Your Left Front Wheel Is Coming Loose.


Burning thanks to Laura Rodley for contributing this poem.

Do you have something you’d like to contribute? Send it to weighedwords at gmail.com.





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  1. Jenene Ravesloot says:

    Dear Ellen:

    Are you looking for a specific kind of poem for your ‘Guest Post’ poets? I would love to submit something in the near future. Is this an ongoing submission process, or are there specific times when poems are read for possible inclusion? It appears that I can submit something through your weighedwords@gmail.com account whenever I wish, but I just wanted to check in with you first before submitting.

    Also, as you know, I am on Facebook.

    Thank you so much, and best regards,

    Jenene Ravesloot

  2. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks for writing Jenene; I hope you send some work in. I am looking for anything that relates to solace, but I interpret that widely. Really long poems do not work, and I may have difficulty uploading poetry that has a complicated form, like concrete poetry. But other than that, I am pretty open. So send something. And include a bio. I look forward to reading your poems and sharing it here.

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