Menthol sears my lungs as I try to breathe
around your words, hotter than the cherry
of your cigarette. Ash sighs to the red checker
tablecloth. I smoosh it with my pinky,
drawing lazy curly-cues diagonally
across the blocks (white only) while you
continue the current tirade.

Your words drift towards the nicotine-stained ceiling
along the lazy trail of smoke emanating from your nostrils.
I lose interest in my soot hieroglyphics and in the tarry words
spewing callously around the yellowed filter between your lips.
My focus is on your forehead, watching the creases jump up and down,
excited by the bumping of your eyebrows and the fire flashing
in your tawny eyes.

I poke the ice-cubes in my liquidless glass with a chewed up straw,
trying to synchronize their plinking with your profanities.
I wonder how long it took for you to learn how to speak with those sticks
hanging so precariously from your mouth, how many times they’ve grown
bored of your maw and simply kamikazied their way to the ground,
preferring to be snubbed out rather than spend another second
soaking in your saliva.

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