Poetry Month Celebration Day 5

I can take or leave smoking as I see fit. I can go months, even years, smoke one, or even an entire pack in one evening, and then not blink as I go without for months, even years again. I think my brain chemistry is just made that way, so of course I occasionally indulge because: why the hell not (yes I know “why the hell not.”) It is the kind of thing that earns raised eyebrows of suspicion from militant non-smokers and glares of hate from smokers. C’est la guerre.

Reveling in nAChR Deficiency

My thumb feels strange
against the tiny,
jagged flint wheel
of the lighter
and I taste the metal
before I taste the butane,
before I taste the sweet,
tobacco smoke.

It is a rare treat
held in reserve
for bad days
or good parties:
moments of emotional extremes,
and maybe my little way of showing off.

I say
“I can take it or leave it.
Don’t you wish
you were like me?”

I am a bitch like that sometimes,
but it is a tiny bit of cruelty,
and I know I got as much coming.

Letting myself revel in it
for just a minute
or two.

I watch the blue-white tendrils
drift up
and away,
like my spirit escaping
from the end of the smoldering,
red beacon
at the end of the flagpole
dangling from my lips.

It feels,
I imagine,
a bit like breathing in cobwebs.
A curious,
somewhat unpleasant experience,
but it gives me the illusion of control.

I like to think of it
as a consolation prize.
in more ways than one,
I have been granted this privilege
to make up for it.
I can poison myself
without wanting to,
without needing to,
as I see fit.

Isn’t that grand?


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