Take this, all of you, and swallow it,
for this will ease the sickness in your blood.
The doctor says,
the dealer says,
the same to me.
It’s mad brick outside, in New York,
and both are just talking heads in coats.
Kids left my town by bus
all in the span of a month.
The newspaper reads, crisis.
Sign on the L.I.E.* screams,
Please, inform the police!**
The priest says, Do this in memory of me.
A sober voice on the stereo,
a girl with lungs enough to sing,
Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time.
And that’s just how I feel
about the people I once knew,
who are another kind of blue.
The one that reminds you to breathe.
I inhale, I exhale,
first time without a drug.
the body just forgets.***
* L.I.E. is the colloquial abbreviation for Long Island Expressway
** There is also quite a visceral image that is on the L.I.E. (Long Island Expressway), asking civilians to turn in their
heroin dealers for a cash reward: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-an-billboards-on-wheels-trailer-off-the-long-
*** The last line is inspired by research that discerned how powerful opiates can actually be—the body just forgets to