He’s showing her his famous cigarette
trick he practiced for years
in front of the mirror
and later used under the bleachers
after games to impress his friends,
you know the one
where he curls it into his mouth
on his tongue and then flips it back out
between his teeth, still lit
and smoking.

But she isn’t amazed.

No, look, he says.
You didn’t see it.
You don’t understand,
and he does it again, this time
turning the whole pink cavity
right in her face, the butt still burning
there in his mouth, the paper dry, the ash
intact behind the thin blue veil of smoke
that curls above his lip
with a subtle twist.  Then he flips it back out
and bites it again with a smirk. 
Now you see what I mean.  See,
it’s still lit.

Yes, she says, truly amazed now. 
I see what you mean.

 

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