Smoke in Beirut

By Missak Artinian

She leans against the rusted railings, peering
Down at the polluted streets from
 the balcony.

Her frail fingers clench the butt of a cigarette
Like a soldier clinging tightly to her own rifle.

A black smoke veils her mouth. She doesn’t talk.
Not about the Civil War. Never about grandfather.

I tell her smoking will kill her. She nods her balding head,
Takes one last puff before throwing the butt off the balcony

And lights another.

Say something worthwhile.

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