Cigarettes by DS Maolalai

whats worst

is a party

after 11pm –

going along with everyone else

to the bar

and the knowledge

that you’ll surrender soon

to cigarettes – the first one just

because someone offers it

and then

it’s a night outside

with your new

and excellent friends,

and your old pals,


no longer quitting.


the air

in a smoking area

has that friendly coldness

of a dogs nose,

and it goes – 1

and 2am – perhaps even purchasing a pack

and nipping out again

between each sip

from your drink.


when you started

it was in hope

of getting a girlfriend. now

you edge toward stopping

in the hope

of keeping

the one you have. and tomorrow

your mouth will taste of tar,


and sloppy barmats,

and she will be unhappy

at having been woken

at 3am. and she will smell the cigarettes

on your sleeping breath

and steal what’s left

in the pack

to spark one herself

on the balcony,

while you sit and drink coffee

and watch from the kitchen,

both of you

very carefully

not saying much

at all.



DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.