The grave of my teenage daughter

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The grave of my teenage daughter

                                                            is a restaurant she was born at 16.

I was told she began smoking long reds for long breaks – they lasted 15 minutes at most – and she had her first sip of alcohol there. Coffee liqueur from a straw in booth 14 from a customer who later became her lover.

The next lover was the second to slap her, and following that was the first kiss she ever received from someone she admired – even though he didn’t admire her back.

It was near the gumball machine, right between the hanging claw and the golfing game. Neither had worked in years. But the lights still flickered, and she always used to talk about how the neon chants radiated across his grimace when he asked her for a kiss.

Even he knew it was only for her.

Even she knew it was never for him.

But she agreed anyway. 

The waiter told me that she smoked an entire pack of Menthols after, as if to brush her teeth, but it didn’t cleanse a mint memory. It only burned it away, etched it into the cement curb where we last saw her – drinking one last time as the yellowing sky stretched over the horizon and left her smoke as ash against the morning mist.

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