, May 24, 2024

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Overdosing on the Stairs


  •   1 min read
Overdosing on the Stairs
By Andrew Dickens

sixteen years old
and beautiful
straight off the farm
the wood stove
the outhouse
left behind for
the big city.

meets a handsome
marine in gorgeous
dress blues who
comes home with her
into the kitchen
standing up
resisting

pushed up against
the kitchen sink
by my biological
father who after
the planting of
winter wheat

after the
obligatory cigarette
and the half-hearted leaving
of an address
designed to confuse
he was gone
gone to recount his latest
wham bam thank you ma'am
to his pals

while she cleaned up
the mess
and said nothing
to anyone
for shame

when it could no longer
be hidden
she took a massive dose
of quinine

and when
that didn't work
threw herself down
a flight of stairs

in my mind i see her
do all this
the retching
and the desperate leap

and my heart
rushes after her trying to grasp her hand
even as her humiliation
pushes her off to fly

from what must have seemed
a twelve-story leap from a
ledge of desperation
into the chasm
of nothing gonna work
and gave it up

because...six months later
here I am.

sorry, mama.


About the Poet:

Andrew Dickens, in his own words

"An old man who majored in English at Kansas University, taught English in Japan, sold investment diamonds in Honolulu, spent six years homeless on the streets of Austin, Texas, San Francisco, and Honolulu with seven months in a radical Christian cult in Honolulu. Ran the Honolulu Marathon in 1980. Been there, done that."


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