Smoking Will Kill


Smoking will kill you

Muttering it is useless,
Screaming it vain.

Shaken to reason
by the heart doctor’s blank stare,
the boat entirely missed.

Machines humming
powerful tunes into her,
ones hummed since childhood.

All that grinding gathering speed,
gathering fear, fluent in you.

Rise, spit it out, slam it down,
All is useless, all is vain.

Except an abnormal
one-on-one May day–
overgrown field,
youth and her true hum,
strawberry juice running down your chin,
and love so deep
the grinding will never grasp.

Written for Shawna’s first edition of THURSDAY MELTING here at

15 thoughts on “Smoking Will Kill

  1. Holy cow. I read through this whole incredible, powerful piece and read your post-note before realizing it was for Shawna’s Thursday Melting…even though I wrote one, too, so was familiar with the words. That, in and of itself, deserves kudos. Then, this line:
    “Muttering it is useless,
    Screaming it vain.”


  2. Love this: “the boat entirely missed”

    And this: “Machines humming powerful tunes into her” … I love this, but in the context of how music is IV-ed or injected right into the veins of some people—the ones who really feel it. But here, I think she is hooked up to machines that are working in vain to heal her.

    “strawberry juice running down your chin,
    and love so deep
    the grinding will never grasp”

    You reminded me that it’s almost Cinco de Mayo and May Day, which makes me happy. πŸ™‚

    I love that in the midst of despair and feelings of hopelessness, she goes back to a memory that transports her—one that transcends pain and loss and somehow sustains her, even if death is impending. The love described can’t be touched by the disease or the machines. Beautiful.

      • I’ll be posting more this evening. Also, there’s another blog that posts a word list every weekend:

        And one that posts a short list mid-week:

      • Our strawberry season is about over. But now the blackberries are coming out. We don’t have any at our house. (We did when we lived in Mississippi, though.) But I got to eat about 5 this morning. We visited a new church today because Reggie was preaching. Kaya never does well in new environments. So I had to take her out of class during church to calm her down. We ended up exploring the forest beside the church. We had the best time climbing trees and picking the few ripe berries we found. πŸ™‚

      • Glad you were able to “make lemonade” or a little blackberry juice, anyway, out of your situation! Our blackberry bushes are just beginning to flower right now!

      • I had more fun in the woods than I would have in the service. πŸ˜‰ Well, during the singing anyway. Reggie is an awesome preacher.

  3. A fantastic piece. I had read the words from Shawna, but you wove them so effortlessly–not one seemed included as a token to complete the list. Also I think I was transported to a sad place as I read because one of my aunts is in the final stages of lung cancer (well, now it’s everywhere cancer) and she is wonderfully witty and so much fun.

    • Thanks, Ginny. And I, too, am so sorry to hear about your aunt. My mother died a little over a year ago and she smoked a ton. Fortunately she did not have to go through what your aunt has. But I always thought she would. And so I guess that is the blessing, though I have had a hard time looking at it that way just because I never got to properly say goodbye to my mom. It was a sudden and massive heart attack. So thank you for your comment – making me look at my situation a little differently. Always a good thing. But my sincere sympathies to you and your aunt.

  4. Anne Katherine I love how you bind words together! I have never been able to write poetry but I thoroughly enjoy reading it…and I think you create such beautiful visuals with yours!!! You are such a talented writer! My favourite line:

    Machines humming
    powerful tunes into her,
    ones hummed since childhood.

    Love that!…and of course the strawberry juice running down your chin!

    • I love your spelling of favourite πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for your visit and for reading! I don’t consider myself much of a poet, but it’s fun to try! I am going to try to do more prose soon though! That definitely flows much easier (usually) for me!

      • Favourite…that’s my Canadian side sneaking out..and my computer’s auto correct!! WHAT??? Not a poet???…now that’s just crazy talk! I do love your stories though too…I still laugh about the phone in the fridge!

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