Like a chimney

I have never smoked a cigarette—
not even a puff—
which surprises people.
I promised my mother I would not
when I was younger,
and I never break my promises to my mother.
except when I do.

So it surprised me when I began to cough black smoke
which issued forth in my mouth
which hung low and wide and open like an O
in the depths of my surprise.
And blew forth in rings, slow and steady and constant

I think it comes from the tar
Which I can feel burning in my lungs
Which comes creeping back and coats my tongue with bile
I will find it one day
It will pour forth from me like so much black smoke

but until then I will swallow my bile
and breathe in my smoke
and hug and kiss my mother

and I will wait

Michael Kennedy-Yoon received a BA in Studio Art in 2017. He always thought he would be an author, but wasn't focused enough to write, so he is an MD candidate in the UUSOM class of 2022

MED '22
Issues: Volume 7, Volume 8

Rubor Participation:
2020 Associate editor
2020 Poem, "Ocean Heart"
2020 Poem, "Hands"
2019 Imagery Content Editor