My mother couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital
so she could finally have a cigarette,
and then twenty, and then thirty-six hundred more
before she went back to the hospital to die.

Why waste a match when you can light one
after another after another after another ’til it’s time
to brush your yellow teeth and and hit the hay?

I know how she felt— I too dislike waste,
and appreciate comfort and repetition.

In other ways we are dissimilar, me with my macho bullshit,
her with her bag of drag queen stilettos, the spurned suitors,
those lipsticks and that cement-filled freezer she wore,
hanging on a thick rope from the joy chamber of her
gorgeous, wheezing heart.

INHERITANCE A poem by Abigail King

Photo used under CC.