I knew a girl who smoked cigarettes, and took pictures with a complicated camera, and quoted lines of poetry, framing whatever moment…

I kind of hated her for it.

Kind of hated that her clothes somehow didn’t have the pungent smell of smoke weaved into the fabric; the soft passion of her voice as she tagged her sentences with lines of Blake or Tennyson, Cummings or Poe; the pictures that anyone could take, but you could feel the significance so poignant that it burned in your chest.

I kind of hated her because I kind of hated myself for not being like that. My tongue felt lazy and my mind like mush when I couldn’t recognize the lines. One side of her mouth would quirk up, responding with poets to my confused expression even as I nodded. When I couldn’t sleep at night I would look them up, and read the lines too quickly and almost thought I could understand but didn’t want to discuss anything because I probably really didn’t.

“Your slightest look easily will unclose me, though I have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens’’

I gave a small gasp, recognizing the line, and my heart jumped from my chest onto the pavement when she smiled at my reaction.

She knew what I’ve been doing, when it was so late that every sound was like a blow horn. She knew, somehow, and my face felt like fire.


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