Sola Scriptura
Austin Segrest

Sola Scriptura

If Mom were a ghost,
wouldn’t she take
the form of smoke?

What is more lovely
than that lithe loose ribboning
letting go?

Maybe if I’d been Catholic
incense would do.
But I want my own

prophetic coal
to perfume my brief unravelling,
heady and hidden

by a creek bank.
Almost angelic,
Michael walked us up

and down the hill,
scanning the gutters.
Sons of science,

we scrutinized each cigarette
butt’s branding and condition,
as if considering lures,

happening on a few
gleaming white after just a puff,
or a damp soft pack

with one hiding in the corner.
Taken in and released,
the strange, fugitive smoke

blued, erotic in creeklight.
This little lighter of mine.
A father under a bushel.

Austin Segrest

is the author of Door to Remain, winner of the 2021 Vassar Miller Prize for Poetry. Born and raised in Alabama, he teaches at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.