We wait in the car outside,
my hand dangling from the window,
my fingernails kissed with fog.
Silvery curls of smoke
rise like a dragon's breath
from the thing between my fingers.
You look at me, horrified,
staring at the black and blue
stains upon my tongue,
the marks of damage
cutting deep into my skin,
deep beneath tissue,
deep enough to corrode my bones.
I'm living in someone else's death,
borrowing a pair of cheap, shriveled lungs
that rattle loosely like leaves
in my chest.
I exhale a fresh, decaying breath,
and though I try to be diplomatic,
I know in my heart I'm just mocking you.
"Those things are gonna kill you,"
you tell me, all sage wisdom and disapproval
and sudden concern for my well-being.
"It's six bucks for a pack of cancer."
I try to laugh, and cough
then laugh some more
at the fact that I can't breathe.
In a greasy ashtray, I stamp out
my last flimsy cigarette,
ash and sorrow lying dead
in the dimly lit embers.
If only I could stamp you out
as easily as I've stamped myself out.