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

She’s haunted by love, death
and slow disease,
Every lost case, kitten and child
makes her fear she’s dying–
sleepy 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 as a drug to keep
fear at a distance.
But, there’s disease in blood heat;
safer to ache.
Only so much pain she will
bear on the street.

When she sleeps
her brother falls again
to his death
wrapped and waiting for the morgue
in white sheets.
She cries, pleads
how much goodness
how much magic
required to manage?
Can she survive
another day?

© Gay Reiser Cannon – All Rights Reserved

22 thoughts on “AMAZING GRACE

  1. Wow, Gay you have really touched on some painful (front-page) tragedies in this powerful piece. It left me aching for the narrator and her difficulty escaping such anguish.

    My only suggestion, albeit a small one, is to drop the Caps from the start of each line as they interfere with the flow of the poem (IMHO).

    The first two lines are spectacular, you had me with;

    She knows dumpster food
    And dying from two stories up.

    amazing grace indeed…

    Enjoyed this nicely penned piece.

    • Thanks Christi – Thought I’d made the fixes to the all caps craziness before anyone came by. I often capitalize first lines but I hadn’t meant to for this piece but when everything went to caps I guess I left the initial line letters capitalized. Sigh…html — my nemesis.

  2. their are many eating dumpster food, as even those not homeless eating dog and cat food to survive…and the rewards of day to day are found or lost in the streets movement…Well done powerful writing Gay…bkm

  3. dang gay…intense for sure and oh how we try to assuage those pains with many things…drugs, sex…there was a time i went through this dark tea time of the soul…her desperation is palpable…

  4. I’ve had formatting problems with both my blogs today. It’s as though the gremlins got in. I was hoping only to change a background picture and every setting on my blogger changed- ugh. Then this one turned everything to all caps and I thought I’d fixed it before anyone came to read, but I hadn’t changed all the first letter capital and re-inserted correct punctuation. It put the print in courier so it looked like a typewriter, too.

    I have no idea why. Most people seem to like wordpress but I have more trouble with it than the other. I’ve lost my edit button and my Home button too. Very odd. In order to return this piece to Times Roman I had to set up html in blogger and copy it over.

    I think all my capitalization issues are addressed now. Hopefully!

  5. …i am not so sure whether or not you did give justice to this poem but that’s only my opinion and will definitely represent the opinion of all.. you started with a very down tone of emotion and felt like it’s consistent t’wards the end but still for some very special reason i find this piece appealing and a bit affecting.


  6. Oh, my. So glad you pointed me in the right direction, Gay. This is so tense with tragedy, so raw. So many kinds of death here…soul death being foremost in ithis piece. Thanks for making sure I saw it.

  7. Thanks everyone. I wrote this poem some time ago when I had a small apartment in central Dallas so not as to drive an hour each way getting to work. I heard this story from a neighbor about a homeless young woman we often saw at the grocery store. I wrote it then. I was very moved; after I heard the story from my neighbor I never saw her again. Apparently when the grandmother died, the brother and sister moved into a vacant second story apartment. The poem tells the rest.

  8. I like the sad and haunting lines Gay. Its like I read her hell and wish for her redemption, if ever.

    I have problems too with the caps as it is the default of my computer.

    Happy day and thanks always for your kind words in my blog.

  9. “Can she survive
    another day?”

    the pain in this piece is as sharp as a metallic taste on the tongue that won’t go away, Gay ~ the subject matter deserves your intensity.

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