A Bottle of Water for My Daughter


When I stepped out of the convenience store,
walked up to the driver side door
of the blue mini-van
and saw a pack of cigarettes on the console
between the two front seats,
I had to ask myself,
Do I still smoke?
It was a red and white Marlboro box,
top open, revealing
an almost full pack, and
I sensed the warmth in my lungs,
a mild rush in my veins,
and my knees suddenly felt weak
before I realized I was
standing at the wrong mini-van.
I backed up, slowly,
careful not to make any sudden moves,
looked to my right, then
to my left,
and walked down two parking spaces
to where my wife and kids
were waiting for me, pleased
that I’d quit smoking years ago,
and happy to be alive.

-Jose Padua

Photo by Jose Padua


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