Photo by Jacques Perreault

One left

It peeks from the pack
Its friends have abandoned it
The shadows around it promise
Darkness is the world’s natural state

Its light offers solace,
Gives new hope in between puffs
Orange glows in circles,
Gives new hope in between loose connections

One conquest, one night, one successful joke
Another of its friends spent
But tonight
It rests alone

It has twirled over knuckles
And flown behind an ear
It danced from mouth to finger and back again
Each time, it helped make a point

But it never combusted
And now it lays awake at 4 a.m. 
Sobs from somewhere keep it restless
A phone call next, one-sided and strained

“Hello,” it hears. “I miss you.”
“I know”
“I’m sorry.”
“It’s so late.”

“Don’t yell at me.”
“I just.”
“I just.”

“I’m sorry.”
“Do you want.”
“To just come over?”
The sobs louder; no sleep for the weary.

“Don’t call me that.”
“I just.”
“I just.”
“I love you.”

“Hello?” a conversation begun and ended in “hello”
Drunken crying. At last, 
a long flame resolves its wish
to extinguish itself in the smoke of emotion