A Plume

You said you’d be right back
You say that often
A phone call from your brother
One cigarette after another
Maybe it will become bothersome as time goes on
But for now I use your smoke breaks
To mark moments on a timeline
Concise and oscillating
Sitting too far apart
Like you and me on the couch
Watching your favorite movie
You step outside to smoke during a prominent scene
When you come back you sit a little closer
After the second break you hold my hand
Play piano on my fingers

It would take some getting used to
If this were to last
Sitting through scenes by myself
Unaccompanied at a restaurant
For a minute or a few
Indulging in conversation
With strangers I don’t care to talk to
While you stand outside
Breathing Marlboro Lights
My dad smoked those for years
I’d hide them in the freezer
I won’t hide yours
I don’t mean that in an endearing way
I mean it in an indifferent, detached way
More than anything I want to observe you
Practicing your habit from a distance
Maybe it is a little endearing

On August sixth
I watched you through a window
Vinyl letters obstructed my view
You stood by a street sign
Bent down to tug at the hems of your jeans
Every movement you made was slow
And thoughtful, possibly even methodical
When you picked your head up I looked away
Then I glanced back
I watched you exhale a small puff of smoke
It was quick the way you breathed out
The way the smoke evaporated
I wondered if that might be the way
Our timeline comes to end
You say you’ll be right back
I look away, you exhale
I glance back
You disappear


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