Things Take Time

She swore the trench knife
she carried in her purse

saved her life hitchhiking home.
She weighed maybe

eighty pounds
dirty tight clothes

that dared anyone to say shit
took the dirty spoon from my

dried-up cereal bowl
wiped it on her leg

tapped out a pile of yellow powder
from a film can

water from my night-glass
holding a match so it bubbled

asked if I ever wore a tie
I said no but

I had bought one
for Dad and hadn’t mailed it yet.

Gimme it, she said. You can
have it back. With a long nail

slit the Christmas paper
and unfurled the crimson silk,

wrapped it tight about her bicep
told me true terrible stories

waiting for a vein to rise
slapping her arm

put a dot of cotton wool
into the heated spoon

to soak it up
crimped the syringe in her teeth

filled it with one hand
held up her chicken arm

talking talking talking
almost ecstatic

“This looks dangerous
but it’s safe as babies.

I never wanted to stop
and you won’t either.”

Years ago she showed me
how to smoke.

I was bad at it,
coughing, awkward

She said I’d get it
this transformation

some things she said
just take time.



The Daily Post: Transformation

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