How to Inhale

a poem

Shannon Yarbrough
Jan 25 · 1 min read

Remember that time I stole a pack of cigarettes
from a carton in my cousin’s bedroom?

I hid it in my pocket.

We walked to the school ground play yard
and it all felt like a secret revelation.

Neither of us had smoked before.

We knew how to strike a match from the stolen matchbook
and we knew how to puff to get the tip to light.

We did not know how to inhale

Smoke into our lungs
To feel whatever tobacco makes you feel.

We didn’t cough. We didn’t choke. We weren’t cool.

We made a promise to each other to never smoke again
and we crushed the cigarettes in the dirt beneath the swing.

Some weird treasure for some kid to find. Years later

I broke our promise and casually smoked cigarettes in a lesbian bar
I thought it made me look older.

It only made me look stupid.

Because I still didn’t know
how to inhale.

Follow me on Instagram @shannonlyarbrough (if you love pet posts) or visit my blog at And this is my author profile page.

Shannon Yarbrough

Written by

Writer, Poet, Artist, Gardener, Southerner, Reader, Blogger, Creative. Not always in that order.

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