her timid sunday smile
would undress itself in the daylight
while little halos of cigarette smoke
hovered over her litmus eyes.

‘how nice to intermingle
pollutants with the sky,
tar with the lungs,’
she would confide.

these are the bypasses
our love depends upon anymore,
sunday kind of small talk
and little languid kisses.

‘recess is over,’
the guards would chime,
taking her shoulders in polite grips
and ushering her off into the distance.

and the hardest part was never leaving,
it was never the thought of returning
on some selfsame sunday
or government-mandated holiday,

the hardest part was seeing the pupils
she’d hide behind browbeaten eyelids
as the guards drew closer and closer
and her eyes grew redder and redder.