No More Than a Fume

No More Than a Fume

Fog, this morning, rose in great

tumbleweeds over the lake,

slowly wallowed awhile

like a large animal in a shallow pool,

before vanishing from sight.

You have seen, I am sure, a timeline

of the ages of our Earth, notching various eons:

when Miocene mastodons rumbled the plains,

when Bronze Age man created tools,

when our own species arrived right at the bare end,

barely a blip,

more like a sudden hiccup.

There we sit, shelved.

No more permanent than the lumbering beast,

the departed fog,

or the waft of perfume in a lady’s wake.

Think of the doors you once opened,

perhaps with a key, to places you belonged.

Today, those doors are closed, locked to you.

Your passage there complete; only a fume

of memory allows you inside. Only memory

as fleeting as a fog, a fume.

Jeanette Willert

I am a former Associate Professor of English Education at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and served as Director of the Western New York Writing Project while there. I was recently, the Vice-President of the Alabama State Poetry Society and was honored as their 2018 Poet of the Year.

My chapbook Appalachia, Amour won the Morris Chapbook Award (2017), Goat’s Milk, WINK, U-Rights, Libretto and, Crosswinds Poetry journals among others have published my poems. My work also appeared in the 2017 (Vol. 9) and the 2020 Anthology of Appalachian Writers (Vol. 12). My first book of poetry it was never Eden published by Negative Capability Press (Mobile, AL) will be released this year.


  1. the best verse can be like a snake-life plume of smoke in and out of our lungs we know its presence but cannot hold onto its substance.

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