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Summer-Fall '23

First Drag
Samantha Casey

I had my first cigarette at fourteen.
Ever since that first delicious drag on
The grassy hill behind the school, I've been
Horribly addicted to shortening
My life. With each puff comes enlightenment
For a swift second, the skies blur and clear,

My heart slows like a wake dissipating
In the distance and death becomes a bit
More comfortable. But one day, I reach
In my pack and find it empty. The pain
Of withdrawal hits me with lack and the sheen
On the ocean dulls and reeks of oily
Capitalism that robs me from death's
Comfort. I work hard, chasing the old dream,
Until finally I arrive at the

Rundown gas station, and with trembling
Hands offer the tokens of time wasted.
The boy behind the counter stands tiptoed

To reach my heaven, turns with it in hand.
He's too young to know death's delight,
Zit-faced and pure. Naivity hands them

To me, the doors shut as the lighter clicks.
In the beautiful, blissful moments of
First kiss, the wind drags an ember up and

Away until it floats down to the ground
In a puddle of gas. The explosion
Is epic and my body is returned

To ash. As death's comfort swallows me,

I release one last puff of smoke, happy.

Samantha Casey is a Military Instructor in the English Department at the United States Naval Academy. She enjoys sailing, playing rugby, and reading poetry. She has been published under the pen-name Porter Jenkins with The Minison Project: Sonnet Collection vol 4, and Wrong Turn Lit. Her Poetry Collection, Erotic Trauma, will be published with the Naked Cat in October 2023.

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