Today My Cousin Brenda Would Have Been 50

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The woman we called Morning limped
down Washington Street, asking for a dollar. 

Everyone knew it was just a matter of time.
Government wasn’t an enabler. No Narcan 

to resurrect zombies. Folks dropped,
leaving brown puddles. Heroin ate people. 

Every day a little thinner, disappearing
into clothes like ghosts. Till they were ghosts 

on Washington forever, their nothingness enough
to change moods of stray cats and dogs. 

Morning would be no different. Last time   
I saw her, she swallowed her teeth

before she opened her mouth to speak, 
You remember me? 

Did she mean from yesterday?
I searched her eyes, tried to look inside her. 

We used to eat crayons together. I saw something
familiar. Delightful. Plates full of crayons.  

Her sitting in a yellow romper.
Legs, hardwood-floor brown. 

Two front teeth missing.
Mouth full of colored wax, laughing.

Saturday, January 15, 2022