You Guys, I Took Up Smoking Again

by Becca Yenser

This time with Natives, not my old bougie choice
Of American Spirits. I took up nail polish
In Millennial Pink. I started mixing Sangria
With Coca-Cola.

I went to work and dipped in and out of lives,
Looked at grandchildren peering out from wallets;
I touched the shoulder of a man who drinks
Elevated IPAs like he might die tomorrow.

He might die tomorrow.

He waits for the bus and stumbles outside.
I was supposed to help him remember, 
But I got hypnotized by
Chelsea Wolfe, that haunting:
“How many years have I been sleeping?”

But who listens to lyrics anymore?

I give him a bag of Lay’s. I pat him
On the shoulder. Softly, softly
Driving home from the bar with
Depeche Mode on, I can finally
Hear my own tires taking me 
Home. Not anywhere I want to be.
Not up in the mountains, where high
Prairie flowers break your heart
One by one. Too delicate.

Was everything on Earth built to fail?

A couple show me a video of a baby
Learning to talk. We laugh. As I turn
To wash the glasses, the detergent
Slides up my arms. It burns. “I’ll
Cry later,” I think, “Yes, that’s when.”

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