Parental Nicotine

Paternal Nicotine


A man I sit next to in class is cologned with the smell of cigarette
It has been so long since I was this close to the aroma of burnt nicotine

Second hand memories
of our last bout
our last embrace

Your final goodbye flooded my nose, my lungs, my heart.

There is something so beautiful about the aftermath of these recollections.

Ashes like pieces of my childhood floating around
I half smile at the man who does not know what his habit has done to me

You were smoking on the porch when I decided not to hate you anymore.

When my love for you wasn’t an obligation
and more of a realization
You were smoking on the porch when I recognized you were just as tired
just as sick as you had made me.
You inhaled, exhaled, I breathed in your goodbye.
Your white smoke took notice of my white flag
The war was over and the smell of a finished cigarette became sweet.

I am sitting next to this man being reminded I learned more about life, about pain, about love from watching you smoke on a porch than I am now at 19 on this university bench.

This poem is about: 
My family


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