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Category: quitting smoking

If there wasn’t cancer, would same-gender marriage be legalized?

Seven days ago, I quit smoking.

Seven days ago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-gender marriage.

Seven days ago, my sister shaved my head.


The first time I started smoking, I was a teenager voluntarily trapped in a psych ward.

The first time I realized same-gender marriage could be possible was the first time I could legally vote.  I didn’t.

The first time I shaved my head, my mother was still dying from cancer.                                                                                                She did.


Nine days ago, a nurse told me that I have high-grade precancerous cells inside my vaginal canal.

Nine days ago, my ex-girlfriend left me a voicemail that said: “Remember me?” She doesn’t understand that my love for her overlaps together and apart.

Nine days ago, I was growing out my hair.


First, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about losing my insurance to capitalism.

Then, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about wanting to birth another child.

I still haven’t cried about wanting to keep living.                                                                                                                                                                                                 To keep living.


Today, I had lunch with a stranger.


Four Days Absent Nicotine

For me, smoking will always be tangled with class. Roots.

I was smoking before I was born.


And no matter how much I wanted to stay away,

I always had to run home and breathe in that cloud.


The one that separated my mother’s body from mine.

The one that touched all the space between them. Umbilical.


4 days ago I cut the cord.

It was time.


When you’re real poor, you learn not to want.

Beggars cannot be choosers.


And you learn not to fear pain, death. They called me:

Picky Nicky. You work through it.





In the brief absence of nicotine,

I have learned that there is a difference


between not being afraid to die

and choosing to live.


Tangled in my roots,

I am not supposed to realize there are choices.


Always called out for my difference,

I want to cling to those roots. Choose home.


But the only one still surviving there is

Cancer. And she strangled my mother with her own bootstraps.


Sigh. I could never keep my feet stuffed in those shoes anyway.

Barefoot.      Calloused.      Picky Nicky.


You work through it. Live.

But you can never really go back


.                                                         home.                once you’re

.                                                         free.