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Smoke Break 

You took up smoking after your mom passed. 

It was a way to clear your head, you said. 

You smashed it under your boot—it would not be your last. 


You would come home with beer on your breath, trashed. 

The bottle was your way to cope. Your cheeks were rosy red. 

An empty handle of Jack Daniels swung between your fingers as you walked past. 


We told you to slow down, but you didn’t listen—only laughed. 

You never liked being told what to do, no matter how hard we pled. 

You liked to go fast, it wasn’t your first and it would not be your last. 


The bar was where we could find you, bloody knuckles smashed. 

Always the one to pick the fight, always the one that bled. 

Pink ice would melt until the pain passed. 


You called the night before, but now a voicemail is all I have after you crashed. 

The phone rang, and I expected you, but it was an officer instead. 

That recording of you talking about pizza and movies would be your last. 


Now we visit the cold marble slab, streaked where whiskey had splashed. 

We left a cigarette, “One for the road,” you would have said. 

I took up smoking after you passed. 

I finished the pack right there with you—it would not be my last. 


  • Kelsey Oglesby is a junior studying Mass Communications and Creative Writing. After college, she hopes to have a career in radio and continue writing for fun. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Dolly. 

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