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