What Lung Cancer Is

It’s walking into smokers’ homes
and smelling him soaked into the
carpeting. It’s when the absence
is realized by empty ashtrays, and
living without him is more than
living alone—it’s feeling alone. It’s
the addiction that arrives long after
the lung’s turned black. The need
for the nicotine before it’s been
tasted. It’s picking up a cigarette
just for the smell of it; for the ghost
of him; for the secondhand company.

Published in Fishladder, 2012

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.