It was supposed to be as bad for you as six cigarettes. I found the comparison, of smoke you’ve invited inside yourself to that which is forced down your throat by years of failure to stop or even punish those doing the forcing, insulting. Besides, six cigarettes, in New York, is an exploration. You climb onto a fire escape or up to a roof or under an awning for a business you have never seen open, not once. Where nothing else stands you build intimacy, a closeness with a stranger you can mark on a map, exactly where their breath ends and your fire begins. We should fall on our knees and thank our mayor’s god for whatever time we have left that leaves us with the damage of six cigarettes. In its place waits a world where everything but us gets to go up in flames, while we breathe whatever air we can keep inside, missing each other without really knowing why.