Tobacco Smoke

My head pounds
I stopped smoking a few weeks ago
It’s been 6 years and there’s still no child
the passing sun carves deep wounds
Its knives long winter nights
We’ve seen the doctors, had the tests, given up
Started again, seen the doctors, skipped the tests,
Birth control, diabetes medicine
Pretend to stop, but deep in our hearts we hope
I don’t intend to stop forever
They say I should give science a good chance
Which is not a thing tobacco smoke grants
So they say
We started again
I took it with me to sweat.
I suffered more than I needed to
I had to cry, it worked a bit
But I think my tears are running on fumes
Or tobacco smoke
I slept on my shoulder funny
My neck hurts
They light the sage and cigarettes
My eyes burn
I remember the big lodge
With the fire, the pipes,
The tobacco smoke
Last time I ran away
My head pounded, I hadn’t eaten
I wanted to sing and learn and pray
I came to suffer so I force myself to stay
Yeah I smoked but first I stopped
I said I don’t intend to stop forever
In the flames and tobacco smoke
I thought I saw my hope
Faint, elusive, dancing, starting, stopping
It should help
So they say
But my brother says tobacco smoke is strangely comforting
It’s there and then it’s not, but something lingers
You know where it has been
It never truly goes away
It makes its way to creator
My hope is made of tobacco smoke
Sometimes there
Sometimes not
A sweet scent on the breeze
A suffocating stench
Soaked deep into the fibers of my clothing
It never truly goes away

Joseph Runs Through is a student at Fort Peck Community College.

Leave a Reply