Categories Poetry
Location This poem first aired on Northern Community Radio, KAXE & KBXE FM
Date May 21, 2015
URL Launch Project

by James C. Henderson

If you should die of a drug overdose
I will go on—life is cruel that way.
The sun will rise, and every day
I will cry, missing you.
When I am outside walking alone
or in a calm moment at work
I will think of you lying on some filthy couch
in that undiscoverable apartment.
The ritual of rubber hose, spoon, flame, syringe—
will replay over and over in my mind
each moment I could have been there
to stop you
you alone with the stranger who administers the drug
in silence, the routine that needs no language
only a few softly spoken words of “now” and “okay”
he who is more intimate than a lover
he who understands you more than family
this fellow addict, this fellow refugee from pain.
I will see you lie back in your last moments
a warmth of well-being spreading through your body
as you sink into unconsciousness
dragged down by the fetters of resignation.
It all behind you now
the television drowning in a garble of sound
what is the last thing you see?
Do you look out the window to the sky?
Is it the sky I see now?
A gray sheet of clouds
scuttling past the silhouettes of leaves?
A shroud being pulled over the earth.