Cigarette smoke curls toward the ceiling
framing Eve as she stares from her outpost,
a stare detached from her fragile frame.
Anxious for the next hit of nicotine,
she draws and releases a leaden exhale
filling the room with its weighted swirl
while her daughter curls into the mother’s
lap and tastes the acrid tang. I wonder
when she started, who inspired the habit
as the teen mingled and lit up, hunched
to protect her prize from those who don’t,
even though she knew the risk through warning
labels and school lessons. She was expert
at craft work, at rolling paper and rings,
a signal she surrendered to adventure
that burned while it pulled her away.
The structure shivers in the sun, for warmth
is packed away with pictures and knick-knacks
for her husband to show the house while Eve
absently waits for the end.