Today you rolled into the shop
too wasted to be wise and stay out of my face;
the promised coffee cake replaced by oddly assorted items;
passata; puy lentils;
a pack of dried apricots and a jar of spice.
I refused a proffered pasta dish
(dehydrated for longevity);
I’ve tried it before and didn’t like it.
I blame myself for this intrusion –
the last time we spoke I told you I didn’t want to see you
until you had something to give.
and here you were – giving me mismatched ingredients
for a meal.
You usually take from me, so this made a change.
Your hands shook, the left one was black, as if
from that greasy ash I used to see printed on my table,
by my sink and on the bathroom floor.
Ugly images flashed by in dripping scarlet; blood
splashed across walls;
darkening drops blotting your clothes,
insulting my senses.
Needles, ripped vitamin e sachets,
little tin cups.
filthy soot, blood, blood blood.
Impossible to forget the horror borne for so long.
Here in the present, your body,
unable to keep hold of the accepted code of behaviour,
briefly convulsed, and as you recovered
you told me you were tired, but the jerks recurred,
and with them the excuses.
Why do you always think I’ll believe your lies?
I wish that you would realize I’ve seen the signs
a thousand times or more.
Your friend Slick slunk in an opposite doorway.
offering me an unknowing opportunity.
I made no comment except to suggest you go home to bed,
then I waved, and Slick crossed the road to speak to me.
We chatted about my flat, then, quick as a flash I
asked him what you were on.
Slick didn’t know what had hit him.
He batted his unthinking reply back to me:
It’s OK, Paul hasn’t used that, he’s only had Pregabalin.
As if I didn’t know.
So sad that Slick should think I’d be relieved.
He’s too deeply entrenched in the scene to face the fact that
any street drug is lethal for an addict.
I told you to leave me alone, turned my back
and returned to my work in the Oxfam shop.
Please, leave me alone.
I want you to go away;
that I may neither see or hear from you
until you are clean.
The Daily Post #Realize
©Jane Paterson Basil