I wake up, go outside, and light one up. I watch the paper burn; it turns from orange to gray ash. I inhale and attempt to think about "the good things" But the only thoughts that populate are the ones about Credit card payments, Christmas gifts that need to be Purchased, toothaches and bleeding gums, friends who stopped Calling and texting, time with my son slowly slipping Away, the past - when things were worse, the past- when Things were better, the unknown future, the woman at work Who used to joke and laugh with me, but no longer does, The redhead who I see around that laughs and blushes At my jokes, and then... I think about the empty apartment that I come home to. I do the math on how long I have been living alone. How it's been much longer than I let on. I stub the cigarette out and wipe the tears from my eyes And then I head inside into that empty home and get ready For work.