Chris Butler

When a Pregnant Woman Reads the Surgeon General’s Warning

(Previously entitled “Lucky”)
The upside-down brown cylinder sits
amongst the rows of circular white filters.
I slowly slide it beyond the gold foil,
and my fingertips raise the cigarette
to its resting position between my lips.
I flip the lid on my shiny silver Zippo,
and as my calice-laced thumb rubs the wheel,
it sparks the flint that combusts the charred wick.
The flaming orange cherry bursts the tip
in a cancerous cloud of crackling steam,
as inhalation lunges against my lungs.
I round my mouth so swirls of smoke
spiral in disintegrating circles into the sky.
The ash drags along the paper and tobacco,
until I flick it with a snap of my wrist
and watch as dust drifts with the wind.
Once the glow reaches the cotton butt,
I drop it to the cold concrete and snuff it out
with my moccasin, extinguishing the smoldering light,
knowing I will decompose long before the remains.


Previously published by “Chantarelle’s Notebook”, “The (Original) Beatnik Cowboy”, “CC&D Magazine” and published by Scars Publications in the chapbook Antimatter. Also, read on YouTube by John Yotko.

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