Purple Veins.

He’s been fixated

On smoking cigarettes

For as long as he can remember

Inhaling exhaling

Every hour every day.

Marlboro Reds

Not 100’s


He wouldn’t smoke Newports, Parliments


His father smoked cigars

Around him

As a child.

It didn’t bother him

but his lungs always hurt

whenever he went to bed.

He told himself he would never smoke

He didn’t want to be like his father.

He would wake up  every morning

To a smoky kitchen

And gray eggs.

There was Dad

Lighting another cigar

And drinking

A large cup of black coffee.

About a year later

His father stopped breathing

One day at the kitchen table.

His lungs tightened

And shriveled to nothing.

It was stroke number two.

And no one was surprised.

His mother smashed

The plate of eggs

Onto the floor

And cried into her apron.

He picked up

The broken glass off the floor

And hugged his mother.

Blood trickled between his fingers .

As his small arms

Wrapped around her waist.

Nothing was going to stop him

until this.