Who was it that said consciousness
lingers, briefly, after death?
A florist chain-smokes, stooped
in his outhouse-like stall.
He breaks each rose stem like a neck.
Over his glasses, a woman
is beautiful, lighting a cigarette.
She buys one white tulip.
He holds it between them
like a candle. She hops away
over a puddle, the cigarette tip
tracing an illegible word
in the dark. He wipes his glasses,
as if wondering at the grace
of these hot embers,
as if his brain were going cold.