Smoke by Merriam AlFuhaid

My fingers traced the fault line

Down the length of your neck and back

The place it had taken me weeks and months to find

The answers, the truth: all of it inside. 

Then you broke open

Revealing what I once held was nothing but an urn

Full of ashes

And burned, charred pieces of the heart I’d hoped could love.


Curls up from the fuse

You’ve lit on the end of your life

A life that’s now

Five minutes shorter.

I pretend it’s not attractive to me

I pretend I cannot see

That your face was made to be the perfect time bomb

Placed to detonate inside my chest

With a mushroom cloud to topple down

All my safety nets.

I used to think it was a glimmering fog around you

But it dispersed

Leaving just a smokescreen that surrounded you

Fueled by a thousand packs

I could never breathe the truth behind.

An aura of mystery, I would lie

So it’s all right if he has another light

And makes his life

Ten minutes shorter.

You said this was just how you were made.

You said nothing was worth it anyway

Optimism was just a phase I had to pass through

And I didn’t stop to ask you

What the hell does that even mean?

In all your poetic metaphors you couldn’t just say

That the answer to your riddle was death

And that’s all it ever was

That’s all you’ll ever mean

And why is it that you can’t see

That all your life will ever be is

Fifteen minutes shorter?

But I didn’t really see

Not until I heard what you whispered to yourself

You breathed in, puffed out, and said:

“Five minutes sooner.”

Keep running to her.

I’m sure Death will meet you halfway.

You’ll just have to wait for her to take

Each defeatist in her line

Everyone who likes to take their time

When committing suicide

You are not unique, just one of many in the queue

Waiting till it ends.

But it will

And so will you

Ten minutes sooner.

You can’t bring up

Someone who wants to be taken down

So I’m not playing mother any longer.

I pick darkness over

That shining candle of devotion

You lit with the flick of a gas lighter

As you led me to your altar

To wait inside a bar-less cell

Till the last piece of wax melts

And the flame and you both lose your life

Leaving just two wisps of smoke behind

Fifteen minutes sooner.

I think I could stand there forever.


My heart will wake up before the blackout

Stop beating out the countdown

Then spit out my final goodbye

Because you will not tell me how to live

When all you do is die

No, not one second longer

Because you and I are

Five minutes over.

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