Nicotine reminds me of my stepfather

he smoked almost two packs a day
he’d drink coffee to mask the smell
stowing mints in his pockets
and cup holders
hiding behind expensive cologne

but he always took his
false teeth out each night
and had to sit upright
before he slept
so he would not suffer
in his sleep
from his coughing fits

he didn’t die from lung cancer
years of alcohol did him in
so only after a month
of being diagnosed
he could finally put the cigarettes down

I tried my best not to pick them up
but each drag
brings us closer
when I think of his laugh
I think of the crack of my lighter
sparking a flame