Saturnalius by Laila Tova

quitting you


was like quitting smoking:

i was always trying to patch things up

teeth toxic yellow

tongue sore

heart sick

cracked fingertips


soothed by the deceptively smooth

d r a g  of your smile

i let you fill me with tar and black bile

choking back tears

stung secondhand smoke


the flex of your cigarette arm

pushed my stars along – or so I thought

turns out they were just

cherry sparks

poison sure is pretty

when it burns


darling, you were a hard habit to kick

but I finally learned…

i breathe better now

but I still have fits

hacking up your half-pack words

and sugar-cured promises

better put that lighter down