Cigarette people

A cigarette is a sad misfit of all things inanimate.
Out of the dirtiest dutied items
(which may include toilet paper and menstrual equipment)
A cigarette lives the worst life.

A friend once rolled a cigarette in his hand and opened his palms, like he was praying to smoke in all its denial and looked me in the eye and said, “You will never forget your last cigarette.” I went back to him during various times in my life, every time with the iron taste of failure in my mouth, and I waltzed around his statued, glued body. I look at his dirty, tobacco fingernails, his convoluted mouth, and his symmetrical hands holding the one thing that he never holds the same way. I go back to him every white funeral, I escaped to his cupped hands when my husband first asked me to pass the salt and did not look me in the eye, and I pulled his boneless body into my arms when the remnants of a once healthy brown binding, were torn and rejected in front of my eyes. I walked into his bedding when I swallowed my child deep inside the fibroids of my motherly womb, and when I found the empty tin-can of a preserve it had become.

The smooth paper aims for one thing, the lovers of all my lives. It aims for distinction, it aims to become dusky miscellany of something that is immolated by self-righteous passion and toxicity. They burn whole and waiting to become ash, not like us humans, who drag death like a doll through a life-like ritual. They do not bury and burn slowly, but they do weep like adults, no sobs, straight backs and tears that roll down the insides of the eyes and saliva that drips inside the mouths. But what cigarette smoker smokes a whole cigarette? It is left half smoked under piles of other leftovers, leftover people, leftover foods and leftover memories. And there it lives forever, like an outcast, like a curse that is to live forever.

I have known cigarette people closely, watching their weeks turn to eternity, where they destructively live forever. They lunch on the surplus breeze pieces that are left behind, they love without any capacity to love, and they die with heavy eyelashes, and light hearts. I have known half-cigarette women, who paint faster with every stroke, and who are not worried what age they will be deemed useless by biology. And my favourites are the cigarette children, who are hungry eyes in hungry sockets.

Out of all the inanimate objects, few fizzle their lives into never becoming what they are supposed to. And a cut-up cigarette is the end that will never die. So out of all the dirtiest, dutied items (including toilet paper and menstrual equipment), a cigarette lives the worst life.


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