February 18, 2005

Cigarette

He says,
"We've got to have a talk."

So I light a cigarette -
a dirty little
nervous habit.

He says
it has been beautiful,

and I smile
because I am an idiot,
and run my tongue across
the menthol tip
of my cigarette.

He says
something about life's paths,
something philosophical,
something that reeks of such bullshit,

I cannot look him in the eye,

so I look instead
at the glowing red tip
of my cigarette,

the tiny red tongue
that licks circles around
the fragile, skin-like paper,
leaving soft gray ash
in its scorched wake.

The ash is like old lace;
it's pretty,
I think irrelevantly,

and he is still talking,
and my cigarette
is still burning down.

He says,
"Things change,
you've changed,
I've changed,"

and I take a gulping drag,
and choke
on the bitter, acrid smoke,

as though it were my first time.

He is talking
about her perfect ass
and perky tits.
Actually,

he is still talking
about life's paths
(at least, he thinks
I think
he is)

while I contemplate
my cigarette's
scorching red tip
and violence,
which is never the answer.

(What was the question again?)

He says,
"Do you know what I mean?"

Does he know what he means?
Because I sure as hell do,

so I nod,
and he looks so relieved,
so relieved.

My hand moves then, and
the pretty, pretty soft gray ash
lands on the floor.
My cigarette's

tiny red swirling tongue
looks vicious now,
and keeps moving downward.

He says,
"It has been beautiful,
and I will always - "

but my cigarette
has reached
the end of its patience

and its tiny red tongue
has come down to my fingers
and even though I had seen it coming
it hurts.

I let it go
with a little cry.



Winter 2005.

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