If awe could heal,
I would have touched your face

where the tube lines were still visible;
oh, those cigarettes you couldn’t put down!

In that classroom, in that space,
your words were larger than the door frame

to me. When you spoke you exhaled
like my father, who smoked for fifty years,

and I knew. There was nothing I could do
to rewind all that you’d done to yourself,

only regret in my stomach that I was young,
and you were old; I walked in on the curtain,

and there was nothing I could do.
So I smoked with you.