The Ways We Were Gifted by C.C. Russell

There’s a certain quality to the air in that memory, a certain way the cigarette smells. It has been a decade since you last smoked, but the sour taste is still there in that breeze, still a hard swallow and burn at your first gulp of smoke. First cigarette in a graveyard. It’s funny in the way that these things were funny then. Funny in a way that teenage fear just is. He leans over and holds the flame close enough to your face so that you nearly ignite. His hand shakes as it holds the lighter. It would be tender if it weren’t such pressure. It would be tender if you weren’t just trying to impress him. It’s tender. It’s tender in its own way.

C.C. Russell lives in Wyoming with his wife, daughter, and a couple of rescue cats. His poetry and prose have appeared in such places as Split Lip Magazine, The Meadow, Tahoma Literary Review, and the anthology Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone. He can be found on Twitter @c_c_russell where he struggles with brevity.