The day after you overdosed,
I strolled into a convenience store
to buy a pack and an energy drink
because those are my drugs now
and the bodega owner flashes his collection
of elephant pipes and one hitters
and he doesn’t know that, for us,
it was never just one hit.
He doesn’t know that by selling
empty glassine bags, he’s giving the dealers
your death certificate. The day before,
I got the bad news twenty blocks
from your body, at the museum – where things go
to live forever. I knew you wouldn’t live
for quite that long but it felt like all we had.
Invincibility as hope, self-destruction as a weapon.
And I only compare you to an insect
because I wish you could have felt
that mosquito bite too.
I swear it is better than leaving.
But I was at the museum, where the bodyguards
kept checking purses and the café barista
kept making espressos and the curator
kept bending over paintings and the students
kept laughing and I kept breathing
and the streets kept being cleaned.
I always thought addiction was the closest
you could get to death without dying
which is why we both liked it so much.
But now your mom is picking out a coffin
and your dad is trying to find a suit
even though you only wore studded denim vests
and no tuxedo could camouflage
your face tattoos. I am learning
the hooked become the hanged
and on nights like this, I want to go back.
I play the tape. I know the drill.
My veins snapped, my shoulders hunched,
my life in a casket. So, no, I’m not going back.

By Kate Foley


Kate Foley is a poet based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her work has been featured in Voicemail Poems, The Legendary, Words Dance, and more. The Bird Hours, her debut collection, was published by Where Are You Press in May 2017. She is passionate about dogs, helping others, and healing.

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