Cigarette smoke has an aftertaste like
It doesn’t go away even when you spit,
even when you eat icebreaker mints.
I didn’t think I would ever know
what cigarette smoke tastes like,
but I do now – it’s like seaweed.
And it coats the roof of your mouth
and the back of your throat.
It lingers on your tongue
the way the smell lingers
on your sweater. Perfume
doesn’t make the smell go away,
by the way, the two smells just mix
together and they become bittersweet –
like rose and rusted copper –
and you wonder if anyone else
can smell the copper on your collar.
I took off my sweater the first time,
just in case. Because no one can taste
the seaweed on your tongue,
but they can smell it on your clothes
because it’s so strong
it’s almost a different color.
And God knows what’ll happen
if they smell it on my clothes.