this one makes me think of sex

and then forget again

being raped in a bathroom

so it’s the cigarette

i might want after great sex

and it’s the cigarette

i smoke to forget rape sex

i still can’t scream

i’m still trapped

in tile and glass cages

that’s when you think of a cigarette

and then when you are here

wherever you are

catching those slow, deep

poisonous breaths

you aren’t there

where your whole life

was taken away from you

‘cause you have to spend

the rest of your life using restrooms

restrooms where there is no rest

Cigarette Number Six is for this

and for after the shower

that will never cleanse

contaminated brain cells

you get through that hell


to the other side

and breathe

and maybe cry a little

because you still can’t remember

what happened in the end

in that big black void

you know you forgot

‘cause it was real bad

you light up a cigarette

you have a smoke

and a good cry

or not

just cold numb nothingness

nothing but a cigarette

so good in the rain

to remind you that you are alive

you are breathing

and the rain falls for you

for all the tears you can cry

or can’t cry

trying to cry away those memories

corrupted interrupted amygdala dendrites

and how they painted the rest of your life

in tile and glass cages

where no one can hear you

even if you do scream



Doren Damico is an artist, educator, and writer based in LA, California. Her first book, When You Can’t Scream… Or 10 Reasons Why I Smoke, includes poetry, photography, and an intimate narrative that explores her journey of trauma, acceptance, and healing. Doren’s poetry can also be found in: “Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles,” “2016 In The Words of Women International Anthology,” and “Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands.”