Crushed. Red and white boxes.
Perfect filters, lights, trays
lazy smoke swirling, relief;
lost in the week's debris.
Clenched. Fists in tattered
pockets. Feeble resolve
rising need and fallen
Demanding smile, petite feet
glide across the old cement
beach. Arms fluttering, she
jumps into the verdant sea.
Commands, look at me, Mama.
Dance like a jellyfish, Mama—
like me. Momentarily safe,
I stopped smoking August 15th, 2001. In the days following 9-11 and my sister-in-law's suicide that November, I struggled to not begin smoking again.
On a beautiful November day, my oldest daughter, Jillian and I were outside on the front porch. She listened to me complain about how awful life was without cigarettes. After fifteen minutes or so, she stood up in front of me and began moving her body up and down while walking sideways with bent knees and floating her arms beside her in the strangest fashion. I said, "What are you, an octopus?" Jillian said, "No, I'm a dancing jellyfish. Come on, Mom. Dance like a Jellyfish! Like me." She looked so beautiful and silly, I couldn't help but laugh. I forgot about smoking and danced like a jellyfish.
(August 15th, 2013 is the twelve year anniversary of my quit date.)
Original Publisher: Grey Sparrow Journal online version
and Print Version - Issue 8 - Spring 2011 (Purchase a copy)
Reprinted with permission in The Glass Sponge
Publisher: Finishing Line Press