Drummer's Bleat

Drummer's Bleat

Your wife called me

                                        your father

who also smoked

in his young stupid days

because movie stars and cowboys did

and his parents said it was bad 

but smoked constantly in front of him--



about your lung cancer diagnosis

because your 52 year old self

is curled up on their couch

refusing to talk to anyone


your two sons, the engineer and the artist

who never smoked for some glorious reason

even though most nicotine-raised children almost always do


in other towns

they begged you

not to smoke for years and gave up

because you would not


or read the letter we wrote

begging you to quit

because we had seen the ones 

before who did not


die in such dirty, x-ray screaming,

gasping, choking ways

made their inevitable demise

worse than it would have been

                                       but now

what can we do

except commiserate with someone we love

cannot turn the clock back one second 

because time is all you have

and all you ever had 

and it is going to be shorter and worse 

by far than it would have been


what your best friend in your band, 

the best drummer in town,

just before he died


a story we often told you: 

It is my fault. It is all my fault.

I did this to myself

Vern Fein

Vern Fein is a career special education teacher who decided to write fiction after he retired, but wrote a few poems also and now has over seventy poems published in a variety of venues like *82 Review, The Literary Nest, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Ibis Head Review, Former People, 500 Miles, and The Write Launch, and has non-fiction pieces in Quail Bell, The Write Place at the Write Time, and Adelaide, plus a short story in the online magazine Duende from Goddard College.

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