Porcelain Girl

She couldn’t have been more than seventeen

Her porcelain cheeks framed by a knit cap
­­·····and Columbia Sportswear winter coat
·····Rubber-soled Sorel boots to protect her feet
from unexpected February snow

As she traversed the cross walk
·····I thought the curling puff wafting upward
·····from her pouting lips proclaimed moist breath
frozen by the frosty air

But as she passed my cozy car on the sidewalk
·····I saw it—the ugly cancer stick
··········dangling between her frigid fingers
marring the loveliness of a tragic teen

In my mind I rolled down the window and screamed
·····Don’t you know those things will kill you?
She didn’t appear to hear

The light turned green
·····I drove away to another day of work

I mourned the inevitable turning
·····of porcelain beauty to wrinkled leather
·······the loss of innocence that must have preceded
··········a decision of one so young to saddle herself
to a deadly habit that serves no valuable purpose

I pondered my own mother’s first smoke
·····the beginning of a habit that would steal
··········her porcelain beauty
and shorten a life already destined to relative brevity

When my mom succumbed to the lure of cigarettes
·····no one really knew how truly evil they are
·····everyone did it, in movies, in restaurants
in more homes than not

But this porcelain girl
·····living in an affluent neighborhood
········wearing designer coat and boots
··········most likely having attended the number one school
in all the state, surrounded by opportunity

She chose to throw it all away for a smoke
·····and I found myself wondering why?
········wondering what stress or burden led her to this place
··········on this sidewalk
with a cancer stick dangling from her frigid fingers

I pray she might kick that nasty habit
·····before she’s eighteen and
may the angels watch over her



Shared for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.

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.


27 Responses

    • But some of those things you list, used correctly, do have a valuable purpose. I cannot live without food. Exercise can keep me healthy. Apparently wine, in moderation, is good for you. Work provides income. Religion, when it involves a close relationship with one’s creator, is a blessing. But smoking serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

      • Yes, very good response. I was not trying to be critical. I was simply adding to what you were saying. Your right smoking in moderation does not make it better!

      • I didn’t mean to sound critical either. I guess I have a bit of a soap box about smoking as both of my parents smoked when I was a kid and I hated it. They both died of cancer younger than they should have. Were the cigarettes solely to blame? Probably not. But they didn’t help anything. You’ll notice I also didn’t find any redeeming qualities in your last suggestion, which was anxiety. 😉

  1. I hope you’re right and she does kick it. Some teens start because they think they’re cool, although there’s nothing cool about the smell and having cigarette breath and yellow fingers, etc. sigh
    The detail is excellent. You perfectly described a picture I could see.

  2. kaykuala

    I pray she might kick that nasty habit
    before she’s eighteen and
    may the angels watch over her

    They normally grow out of it unless they feel flaunting it (in adult life) is macho, a mistaken belief


  3. In the era of my youth, one was considered a “nerd” if one didn’t smoke, the Marlboro man graced every billboard, and every movie hero had a cigarette dangling from his lips. How they misled us!

      • Very disgusting habit. I’ve stayed away from people who smoke. It’s not easy half the time…My brother-in-law use to smoke until my sister gave him a reality check. Not to mention they have kids, so he needed to think about him seeing his kids grow up and be alive to be at their graduation.

        I’m sorry your parents smoked right in front of you and you had to second hand smoke everything.

  4. A very poignant write Linda, I find it hard to fathom why people still smoke, with all the information that is available now. I hope this young woman will drop the habit soon too xxx

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