I remember
smoke-filled lungs and
stars like neon stickers on the ceiling of the universe –
a slow orange burn,
a brilliant flick of ash
out the crack of the window.
she calls these “island nights”
and takes another drag.

thin-fingered hands
drip with cliché as she puts
the cigarette to her lips,
and then she is coughing,
purple half-moons imprinted
like ink in the soft bubbles
of skin beneath
her eyes.
she plays at grown-up but
freckles form constellations on
her cheeks and
I know
it is make believe.

a deep breath –
another drag –
the rearview mirror reflects fluorescent lights
in laundromat windows.
she laughs about
some pinball game that always spits her
quarters back out
and I watch the waves
ripple on the lake,
wondering how it feels to drown.
spin me around,
take a thousand blurry pictures
– “I was here” –
and watch me disappear