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Marlboro This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I started smoking cigarettes when I was 11, in a church parking lot,
Where I'd pray that my mother wouldn't find out.
I'd choke and cough
But I felt pretty with black tar lining
my lungs;
They were never useful anyway.

When I was 12 I'd sneak on the porch
And smoke stubs from a glass ashtray –
Broken, wasted, bitter – but I was satisfied.
I could go months without thinking of them,
But as soon as a filter grazed my lips,
The word “euphoria” made sense to me.

I smoked a pack a day this summer.
The coughing stopped.
I've accepted the bitterness.

When I met you
I prayed no one would find out.
You tore at my thoughts and I'd choke
on my words
But you made me feel pretty.
And day by day, the cravings came.

I took what I could get,
No matter how worn out, used, and
wasted you were.
I was satisfied.
I could go weeks without you
But as soon as you were at my fingertips
I'd scream for more,
I needed to feel again.

Addiction to cigarettes make sense:
they can be fulfilled.
The consequences are set in stone.
An addiction to you, though, is endless,
unpredictable,
And it takes a lot more than five minutes
off my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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