Tie, mango, train – three words with no apparent connection. The nurse tells me to remember them for later. I want to do well. These people have caused me a lot of trouble—four CAT scans, two biopsies, and a confirmation from the Mayo Clinic: I don’t have lung cancer. But what about dementia, there’s a statistical connection there, too? I almost wish I hadn’t stopped smoking. It’s not the taste I miss; it’s just a consoling little action in the face of stress. Better make up a three-word story: three mangoes tied up in sack to take on the train.
I almost wish I hadn’t stopped smoking. It’s not the taste, it’s the casual congeniality of having a smoke with somebody you don’t know all that well. But put yourself down as a former smoker and you’re in for it.
I tie the ends of my red string bag so the mangoes won’t roll out. The train bounces and sways uphill. We all laugh. I am so glad to be leaving.
Leah Miller is a poet and fiction writer living in New Mexico, USA. She works as a software engineer and has published poetry and science fiction, but does not write about cats. Yet there’s such a wealth of haiku material there!