Goodbye, Tobacco

DSCF4810The half an ounce I bought today will be my last;
a classic blend of bright Virginia and rich Kentucky.
I can’t imagine the tonnes I’ve smoked (minus papers),
but, ladies of Lotto and tobacco counters, this is farewell.
I give too much to you, Tobacco and ladies of Camelot,
but most to you, Tobacco. You break my concentration,
call time on poems after just a title or seventh line;
I’d like to stretch them out, perhaps beyond a page
or at least to write until I need to pause and think,
a biro loosely pinched between my first two fingers.
I’ll miss the way you punctuate long waits in public places
and how you sneak me out of awkward conversations,
but it’s time I understood the weight of what you take
and what I blow away in streams through puckered lips.

There are people I stand and talk with outside the pub
with whom the only thing I have in common is you,
drawing in my cheeks, and this half-love, half-hate.
A part of me thinks I should just let you stay
when I imagine myself, some months from now,
keeping up acquaintance with our mutual friends
on the off-chance I’ll catch a whiff of you, like a man,
recently divorced, outside his ex-wife’s place of work.

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