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Adam lights a cigarette and doubts God’s existence for the first time

by Julia McMullen

If he was formed from dust,

why didn’t he scatter like ash?

His thumb slips on the lighter, then

grips it tighter. His skin glows red

for an instant, then red embers flicker

at the end of his cigarette.

He remembers the angel, sword in hand,

heat like he’d never felt before, the taste

of forbidden fruit still on his lips.

He wields the cigarette with his lips and tongue,

a serpent with a taste for smoke. His lungs

scream to feel God’s breath again,

yet Adam leans against that dusty building

puffing away and wondering

if it had all just been a dream.


Julia McMullen is a poet living in the Midwest with her husband and young son. Her work has been published in Foreshadow Magazine and is forthcoming in The Way Back to Ourselves. You can read more about her life as a writer/wife/mother on her substack, Seasoned with Salt.


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