under the yellow lights

he stood smoking

lighting one off the smoldering butt of the last

yellow stained fingers

rasping cough

looking at the street lights

but not seeing them

wine stains on the front of his wrinkled shirt

he is wobbly

absently tapping his fingers on his pocket

staring into the lights he doesn’t see

she died


three months ago

he doesn’t remember

the days blur

he’d quit smoking

hadn’t drank in years

and then the accident

what more could he lose


after the funeral

he got the first of many packs

and a bottle

since then

he has done his best to join her

the other night

he fell asleep on a bench

didn’t mean to

just didn’t care less

he’s woken with the bed smoldering as a one of his forgotten smokes ignited the sheets

he was only upset that he woke up

they met long after each had given up hope of happy endings

too late to start a family

neither of them expected to find love

and damn it all if they didn’t fall head over heels

they made the most of the time they had though

he cleaned up and got healthy for her

then she got sick on him

ten years out of fifty

all he got

one fifth of a life worth living

all the dreams a man can dream

and twenty percent of his life to live them

then she was gone

what more was left to dream

but to be back with her again

so now he does his best

at doing his worst

she’d be pissed at him

but he thinks she’ll understand

once they’re together again

it was all he ever wanted

maybe he’ll get more than ten years with her on the other side


until then

he’ll light a fresh cigarette off of the dying last one

and drink his wine

and sleep where it takes him

because what else does he have

just the promise of her in the beyond

and he stares at the street lights

wondering if that’s a lie too

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