Pin prick of pink in the solution to ensure you struck a vein,
before you push the plunger in. Brief burn then spreading
numbness, a lingering… let’s name it exhaustion.
You’ve made a map of minor overdoses—you call it napping,
that nodding out. I’ve seen it all before: syringes
like the thin bones of a kitten, I’ve wiped the sweat,
the vomit away, & for what? I wasn’t a hero then.
I won’t be one tomorrow. I just understand hunger
& all its sister urges. I understand urgency.
I understand I call it love. Understand I need to.
Gerry LaFemina is the author of numerous books of poetry and fiction, the most recent of which are Vanishing Horizon (poems, 2011 Anhinga Press), Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist (prose poems, 2013 Mayapple Press) and Clamor (novel, 2013 Codorus Press). He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University and divides his time between Maryland and New York.