Menthol

What do I write
now that the words are gone?
What do I say
when there’s so much to be said?

You ask me to talk.
It should be the other way around.
On my terms.
When I’m ready.
(We tried that and it didn’t work.)

You switched your approach.
I appreciate your concern.
It means more than you’ll ever know.
(But it doesn’t make the words appear.)

It scares me that you’ll leave
before I find the courage and the words.
That’s the way it’s destined to be.

So for now, can I have another hit
off of the cigarette you just lit
and pretend everything is Fine?
I won’t look you in the eye
because we both know it’s a lie.

Just like me pretending I enjoy menthol burning my throat.
But I like watching the red flame flicker
and the ashes fall to the wind.
I love the peace it brings you
and the time it allows us to have.

As we watch the smoke rise,
I contemplate what to say.
Nothing evolves except mindless chatter.
More of me pretending it doesn’t matter.
And you sit and listen.

Do you believe me
when I tell you it’s the smoke
that makes my eyes sting with tears?
Thank you for calming my foolish fears.
7.23.99/11.15pm

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