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Sometimes I have to write.  The kids are in bed.  I’m trying to sleep.  My mind won’t shut off.

Two days ago,  I came face to face with a man who overdosed on heroin.  I felt so powerless.  I felt the urge to bubble wrap my kids, all our kids.  Now that the shock is starting to wear off, I feel the need to do something different.

It starts by sharing this experience with you and hoping the next step reveals itself to me after that.



Cradled safely in the crease of his cargo shorts,

the ash on his cigarette


fading from pale orange

to silver

to white


We’re at the corner of South Maple and Lockwood.


His red Powerade

balanced on the emergency brake

with only the first few sips



Yes, I took the keys out of his ignition.

Yes, he is breathing.


In the driver’s seat

his head on his chest


impervious to the lights and sirens



But for me and Cathy

two strangers

hoping to save his life


That’s what you get for trying heroin.


He spat the words

at the sleeping man

their poison not staining

his own crisp white shirt

or badge


His callousness

his armor

against another call

to another place

for another person

he can’t save



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