The Terminal 1 Smoking Lounge

by Jo Burns

Funny, how midlife crises start in smoking lounges.
You look done (God’s sake, you’ve no make-up on)

holding your forty-year lungs up, a flag of tar.
And who’d think, with all the life and bustle outside,

you’d flee into a glass coffin, willingly, for peace?
But you’re met with an ashtray vaudeville

as Rodrigo y Gabriela flay MTV
before a New Orleans promo video melts

over a model-slash-artist called Juan.
Places you’ve never been, oozing over

you, more focused on Pinot Grigio these days,
a mottled old bruise when the kids are in bed.

Delayed and beige, on your way to Belfast,
you inhale the times before you tied the knot

on your tongue. Boarding call. Your husband,
and toddlers; your obvious gold in the open.

Matt in a discoball, greed lights you another
to the muffles of Mummy, Come out!

Woman, did you really think you could run
from life? If so, where to? And who from?


Jo Burns

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