Alive and Well

A puff wafts from the doorway of the old building
I scrunch up my nose at the scent, shake my head in disgust
or anger perhaps is a more accurate description of my feeling

I don’t smell it often in these days of indoor smoking bans
Mostly when walking downtown, past old buildings
on my way somewhere that will be smoke free

Today that scent reminds me of them, but it’s not the good memories
It’s the memory of what killed them, their obsession with Old Gold
bare-butt cigarettes, in the house, the car, the trailer out camping

I prefer the scent of eucalyptus and fresh garden dill
that remind me of better days when they were alive and well
at least as well as two chain-smokers could be

That foul scent also reminds me of embarrassment
at being accused of smoking myself by a 7th grade P.E. teacher
because the stench of their smoke was inescapable for me

I glance into the doorway at the young woman smoking
I want to scream at her, tell her how stupid she is
I want to ask her if she wants to die before her grandkids are born

But I don’t, I simply move on, away from the smell
and consciously shift my focus to memories of better days
when they were still alive and well


The first prompt of the year at dVerse Poets Pub is to write about a scent or scents that evoke memories. This is the first thing that came to mind yesterday. I tried to come up with something else because I didn’t want my first post of the year to be such a downer. But alas, sometimes we simply must write down what’s already written in the mind.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


16 Responses

  1. This poem resonates with me like no other. Many many young people in France smoke and I long to point out my ruined heart and arteries due to the years when I too was a smoker. Nearly 30 years on, I relish the absence of smoke stink in cars and public buildings, being able to see the screen in the cinema without the fog of smoke.

  2. I must admit that I do wonder how people in this day and age can still smoke knowing what it can do to you. I too grew up around smokers although both parents did eventually give it up. But my grandfather smoked, uncles, aunts and even boyfriends. Now, I have no tolerance for the smell.

  3. Some people have a more heightened sense of smell I am sure but also what we believe influences that sense. I like the smell of cigarettes. I was an occasional smoker for some years but have not bothered much in the past decade although every couple of years I might ‘bot’ one and still enjoy it.

    Some people can smoke and not suffer healthwise. I know many people who have poor health who have never smoked and many who have always smoked in good health. One took up long-distance walking, across countries, in her Sixties!

    It really is about moderation and what works for your body. I have lived enough decades to know that smoking per se: does not lead to poor health. The biggest issue is really the quality of the cigarette, i.e. the chemicals it contains. Tobacco is a herb. And if you look at countries and regions with the best longevity they are all countries with high smoking levels, Japan being a classic example.

    So, I am not encouraging smoking, just saying, it is perspective at the end of the day and condemning others for smoking is projection. 🙂

  4. Can’t stand the smell of this & I would rather stay away too~ More and more its an addiction and I am happy to see that there’s less ads for it and more people being health conscious ~ Happy New Year Linda ~

  5. Even though your subject was serious you did a fabulous job with the prompt… Pulling out memories evoked by that smell. My sons both smoke though I never have and it breaks my heart. A very heartfelt poem.

  6. i remember riding home on college break with a chain smoker…sore throat and watery eyes, choking on the miles. But i admit i liked the smell of my grandpa’s pipe (although he later suffered stomach cancer).

    • Yea, a pipe is a completely different scent than a cigarette, although I’m not a fan of it either. The hardest part for me is knowing they both would have probably lived long enough to know my son if they hadn’t smoked.

  7. SMiLes.. my friend..
    smoke and second
    hand smoke can be
    the terror that keeps giving
    too.. for me.. two decades working
    in a Military Bowling Center with
    literally hundreds of folks lit
    up every day..
    me a non-smoker
    sucking it up
    and sucking
    it in..
    the price
    of that potentially
    part of the reason
    for chronic inflammation of
    swelling mucousal linings
    of sinuses impinging on
    nerve endings
    the worse
    pain known to
    mankind.. actually
    assessed as worse
    than crucifixion from
    wake to sleep
    66 months..
    as type
    Life’s not
    i learned
    THE MOST from pain..
    the dArkest of
    smoke from
    ended up
    likely now
    being a ticket
    to never ending
    liGht.. yes it
    is most
    True.. God works
    in mysterious ways
    and the gift of JOB
    can tRuly be a
    greaTesT gift
    of all when
    one understands
    that ALL IS GOD..

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