This little light of mine,
I'm gonna to let it smolder to the filter
and drop the butt of hope to the pavement,
where there's no worry of forest fire,
or forest.

I've been smoking it, the anticipation,
clutched carefully between yellowing fingers.
I've been inhaling and exhaling the possibility of you.
You're very average.
Unremarkable, except to say
that you light up only when drunk,
and down glass after glass of regret in the morning.

Air goes in and out.
Blood goes round and round.
Any variation on this is bad.
But a little nicotine never killed anyone
right away.

There's the rush of desperation
and the afterglow of self-pity.
It's a social addiction.
My friends and I, we stand shivering
in back alleys or on cramped porches
sucking up stories of infatuation gone awry.
But we never smoke in mixed company
or in public
or with our families
or in the bathroom,
trading cigarettes through glory holes.

It's a health hazard.
And besides, bad enough they can smell it on us.

We could prolly break the habit
in pieces,
scattered through life to remind us of this highly human need.
Which, if you think about it,
is hardly an improvement on where we are now,
gathering the crust of potential, flakes of longing
scraped into crumpled plastic bags,
saved up for the next smoke break, waiting,
waiting for a light.


The image of the lines "I've been smoking it, the anticipation, / clutched carefully between yellowing fingers. / I've been inhaling and exhaling the possibility of you" was inspired by the line "You were smoking me, weren't you, between your yellow fingers. / You just inhaled and exhaled without saying a word" from the song Morrow by Ani DiFranco. The song and the poem are not otherwise similar.

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