The Best I Can Tell,

The Best I Can Tell,

angels and demons alike grow
tobacco in both heaven and hell.

Virginia, Burley, Cavendish, Perique,
Criollo, Oriental, Latakia,

and Bright. And by God, it’s got
the heat in it—a sun so hot

when you top, sucker, weed, crop,
string, haul, hang, and cure,

you can burn a soul straight up
forever and forever on the

cast-iron firedogs in those leaves.
But it’s got the peace too—

the ever-loving, live-long peace
that puts your mind at ease

in the last dark of morning, in
the fast-coming dark of night,

in Mission Control while you push
buttons that hurl men like vapors

to the moon. Even in the parking
lot outside the hospital where

your child is dying from cures
that are killing his cancer,

the smoke goes in like the Holy
Ghost and comes out like Peace,

like a River named Peace—swirling
and flowing in the only air you know.


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