One Way to Stop

            Setting his tumbler down after a sweet, refreshing sip that burns and broils his gut, he gazes off the porch through Autumn morning.  “Quit it,” he thinks, whispers silently harshly, inside his insistent brain.

“Stop smoking, stop drinking, stop thinking too much.  It’s ruined,” repeating, “in ruins.  You ruin.”

His hazy survey settles onto a sign always visible where he wonders, worries, and writes.

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            Well aware that it’s one way.

But it doesn’t stop.

Watching his father deteriorate.  Among 7.3 billion (and counting) other inescapable dyings.  Kills himself surely by living.  Unidirectional and certain – that end.  The End.

Living’s a one-way to death whatever one chooses.  There’s no stopping that.  Perhaps the street sign motors this daily train of thought with each morning cigarette.  And love and forgetting; his children; conjured wishes, hopes and purposes blare redly to STOP! again, again,

and now his mind – himself against himself (against himself) screeing: “Quit it.  Stop.  Stop dying.  Stop killing yourself. Stop ruin!”

But it’s one way.  He knows it never stops.