My first cigarette was stolen.
Jim’s father kept cartons in his truck
and never counted the individual packs.
Behind the garage, we took our first drags
of that death reserved for grown-ups.
In a picture of my father,
he has a cigarette in one hand
and helps me to stand with the other.
I found it easy to smoke them.
And the cigarette stubbed out,
for my first kiss reminded me of that.
so I kissed her, but too hard.
She was afraid of the urgency in my lips,
my futile attempt at communication.
I wanted to tell her everything,
how I missed my father,
how good it was to light a cigarette
when he couldn’t anymore.
She couldn’t get that from a kiss
so she ran away from me.
The first time making love was like that too,
trying to make my body say everything
about every first time I’d ever known,
but all my inexperienced thrusting,
was doomed to saying nothing,
so I lit a cigarette and walked away.