Lisa St. John

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Artwork by Gene McCormick


I want to quit smoking cigarettes. So I think I’ll switch to cigars. They last longer, smell better, taste better, and come with sharp implements.

Watching the smoke slowly melt out of me and into the world, brushing everything with its scent, I realize I wouldn’t smoke anything if I were blind. Seeing the cascade simmer horizontally, gazing through the sweet haze, creating the cloud—no. I would not smoke if I were blind. Witnessing the lovely mess we’ve made is part of it all. Just like playing with the packs (or silver cases) and matches (or engraved lighters), all the accessories of habit. 

I could bite the ends off of cigars and spit them unceremoniously on the ground, or use the cutter to neatly plink off the end into a big glass ashtray. I’d need a good lighter, although some say that matches are better, more pure.

It would be a good reason to sneak over to Cuba through Mexico, smoking cigars. The hard part, as always, is coming back.

Size Two

My screen is down and I can’t control the punctuation of this façade anymore.

I am the one who tells her it will be okay.
I am the one who says he wasn’t/always/won’t be like this every night. Every night.

And the tears are so endless they do not come.
I am all out of salt.

Still trapped in this “don’t cause a conflict” little girl mode I have been programmed to and yea, don’t tell me I haven’t been programmed we all have been-are-will-be if we don’t stop and recall the mother.

I am the mother the sister the one who will not be held down by anything other than what I already am—a woman.

A playground for your hypocrisy I am not.

Oh no.

I am the vessel of all I wish tobenottobe what anyone else envisions me.

I am the mother the sister the daughter the aunt the lover the GIVER of life!
How DARE you try to squeeze all that into a size two!?

Don’t give me the article on how to lose 50 pounds in two minutes eating wheatgrass while I watch my ass and fill out the little quiz that will tell me if he’s…the…one.


And you wonder where our women have gone? Ask the little girls in curlers or straighteners inside getting a nose job a boob job an eyelift tummytucking hypnosis of permanence. Ask them how many little quizzes they’ve filled out.

Ask them how often they’ve thought about it.             Trieditfakeditfailedit . . . fucked it instead.

Our daughters deserve more.


Lisa St. John is a high school English Teacher who has occasionally published poems. Her newest endeavors include several short stories, a novel in progress and, of course, poetry. Her first chapbook, Ponderings, is in prepublication with Finishing Line Press. When she is not reading or writing longer pieces, Lisa enjoys thinking out loud on her blog: