Gasper

The cigarette hangs hot from my lips
and the retched cough begins
wracking lung and throat and air
I cannot tell if my breath hangs heavy
in frost or smoke but probably both
and people would think
I have that plague that assails
from every side
but that is not my ailment
months of living on caffeine
and ever more cigarettes
laughing in the face of life
heedless disregard for health or haleness
raising a glass to toast
the end of the world for me

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