She knows dumpster food
And dying from two stories up.
Everyday she sees death
In the faces of people and in the trees.

She’s haunted by love and death
and by slow disease,
Every lost case, kitten and child.
Then she feels herself dying
Sleepily with drugs,
Like Granny wasting away,
Or quick, blood running down her neck.

She’d like to use drugs
To remember or forget.
She’d like to use
Sex like a drug to keep
Fear at a distance
But there’s disease in the streets.
It’s safer to ache.
It’s a war and there’s
Only so much pain she will bear on the street.

So she sleeps
And again her brother falls
To his death
Wrapped and waiting for the morgue
In white sheets.
She cries and pleads
How much goodness is required,
How much magic?
Can she manage to survive this ordeal–

Another day?

© Gay Reiser Cannon  All Rights Reserved



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