SMOKE THE CRAVING

I debate:

Should I buy

That pack of cigarettes?

God knows I want too.

The store clerk

Stares at me

As if I’ve lost my mind.

I nearly answer—

Yes, I have and other things too.

Please, God.

I just want to feel the smoke

Rush through my lungs.

Skimming, skipping, speeding

The way pictures crash the dam of my heart.

I am flooded.

I’d rather be flooded with waves of nicotine.

Yes, it’d be a blessing to drown in nicotine.

Reveling in the stench of smoke

Would help dull this taste of bitterness,

Would dull this craving for a sweetness

I can no longer have.

And why not?

What’s it all matter now?

A slow roll kind of Catholic suicide.

How long could it take?

I mean, really, at this stage?

“Ma’am, can I help you with somethin’ else?”

Says the clerk behind the counter.

I am still standing there,

The crazy lady,

Trying to wring the water out

Of the water bottle I just bought.

“No, thank you,” as I walk away.

So, no slow roll Catholic suicide.

At least, starting not today.

But this patch of bitter taste,

This patch of craving for a sweetness,

Are sewn with double stitched seams

On the underside

Of my skin.

Published by

Annette Kalandros

I am a retired teacher, enjoying everything that retirement means. In addition, I have been active in the LGBTQ community since I was four years old and marched my Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Yes, I dumped Ken, along with said accouterments, into the can and slammed the lid on. My two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after.

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