Smoke

Every cigarette
is a milestone
putting one more stupid mistake behind me.

It’s comforting to know what they are
this time
to see them coming around the corner
like ragged bums and shaking addicts
in packs of 20.

And you know what’s coming next
that’s the appeal
though the impact of dead air
pains your lungs
and the smell is awful
and gets into everything
and in the morning
you cough up almost solid wads of salty mucus
that taste like ash into the toilet.

We favor the disgusting
if its also the familiar the and predictable.

But mistakes have a way of compiling
and impacting
till they take an unexpected shape
something different altogether.

At least I had a choice in the matter
This matter of untamable and unmerciful fate.

I empty the cut glass bowl of its ashen
debris
and start over.

In an hour
I’ll make another decision
and it will be my own.

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