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Poetry: Cigarette Roller by Aldo de Martelaere

Cigarette Roller

by Aldo de Martelaere

She rolled cigarettes with a blue cigarette roller
and lucidly orated the gift logic
as it shaped and ruined relationships
you show, don’t tell’
she told in a yellow peignor
days too short to dress

too self-contained
for another man in smoking
after grandfather died
from a brain tumor at age 40.

Mater Familias

went on rolling cigarettes
without noting
my intellectual curiosity.

How sclerotic a thought can be
how predictable her bouncing voice
grinding worn thoughts
in a canister.

She scrutinized an almanac page
smiled with the trivial joke
tore it off, threw it away
then played scrabble
rolled cigarettes.

I never understood
the attraction of that game

her welcome and goodbye
always warm.

About the author

Aldo De Martelaere studied music at the ‘Conservatoire de Bruxelles’ (his instrument was the flute) and philosophy at the University of Louvain. After that, he first worked at Louvain University and then held various administrative functions at the Flemish government. For the moment, having MS, he volunteers for the Flemish MS league, mainly as a writer for their magazine (topics related to living with that condition). Though Dutch is his mother-tongue, he writes poems in English, because he learned (and learns) most of English poetry and poetry translated to English, which made writing in that language quite natural to him.

Other work by Aldo on Flashes:

Portrait And The Past

Show More


Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.
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