Closing my eyes I can see
her sitting there on the edge
of her mattress, legs crossed.

One finger traces unidentifiable
stains, paths of broken threads;
I'm watching her, curiously,
from the corner of my eye.
She's juggling both a joint and
a cigarette expertly in one hand.

The ashes of one fall precisely
into the center of the half-full
ashtray waiting in my outstretched
hand. She casually brings the other
to her glossy lips, inhaling slowly,
deeply. Silent count to five. Exhale.

My mind flinches at the ease
which she performs this act.
It was no illusion; how many
dozen times had this seedy
sideshow been performed?

Remembering the innocent
audience that I was, my eyes
well up; stinging memories
run in the cradle of my arm.

Don't think I didn't love her,
I just didn't have the time.