Barbara Daniels

The Wool Peacoat

When I was rail thin my clothes
smelled always of smoke. Men smoked
in boardrooms, bedrooms, bars.

It’s a man’s world, I said then.
I studied cartoons—collapsing houses,
comic strip cannibals, chorus girls,

battle-axe wives shaped like rocket ships.
A bosomy cartoon woman let a man
lean over his desk to leer and light

her cigarette—even a girl on a hassock
knew something was wrong. We used to
burn leaves. Bright risk, rustling splendor,

choking smoke. I might still have that
wool coat smelling of cigarettes, closed
in a box. I hear, always, a sound like rain.


Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever was published by WordTech Press and chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.