Monday, 25 February 2019

A Poem by Mark Tulin

Menthol Light

When my mother smoked a cigarette,
she held it awkwardly 
between the wrong two fingers. 
She never inhaled.
The cigarette never touched
her lips.

She would take short puffs
that never saw the inside
of her lungs.
She never savored
the taste.
She never smelled the aroma
or enjoyed its flavor.

She would often smoke in secret,
almost embarrassed
by the habit.
She watched the smoke rings 
snake to the sky
in crooked circles.
She believed that smoking
could change her worrisome nature
just by a snap of a match.  

She went from regular
to Menthol Light.
From Virginia Slims
to Pall Mall.
She had hoped that she looked
the part, like Hayworth or Bacall. 
She had hoped that she looked 
sophisticated and cool.

Mark Tulin is a former family therapist who lives in Santa Barbara, California.  His poetry often finds richness in the lives of the neglected and disenfranchised. He has a poetry chapbook, Magical Yogis, published by Prolific Press (2017).  His work appears in Page and Spine, Fiction on the Web, Amethyst Magazine, Vita Brevis, The Drabble, smokebox, and others. His website is

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