Once in awhile
someone just
gives it up

like it was
a bad habit

or cuts it out
like a gangrenous limb.

And I react as trained.

Expression shocked,
body rigid from
outward anger.

While deep inside
where I would
never have
admitted it

My chest expands
to make room for
the girl I always
wanted to be

and my ankles
start itching,
anticipating the day
when I would make
my run for it.

I branded them traitors
just like I was supposed to
talked down to and about them
while deep inside all I wanted
was to be who they had
the strength to become.

I’ll probably never be able to quit smoking, but damn you if you ask me to sit on another committee. I’m retired.


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