Smoke

I remember tobacco

floating in the dusky twilight air

in clouds over our porch

while my father

puffed out his pipe, blowing

rings

that I tried to catch before they tangled,

spreading upwards,

hanging around the flickering fluorescent bulb.

At school, they said,

“Smoking is bad!

You’ll die!”

While I breathed in heady nicotine

at Irish festivals, pubs, malls, restaurants

Holding my mom’s hand

At parties with my parents’ friends

Rooms full of gray-haired musicians

Passing around cigars, cigarillos, cigarettes.

I will never know smoking is wrong.

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