Saturday, October 31, 2015

Poem by Martha Frankel

WHAT YOU WEAR TO BURY YOUR SON, AFTER HIS HEROIN OVERDOSE

You want to cloak yourself in your fury, but its too sharp
Like wind on the beach against a bad sunburn
So instead your first layer is the toddler he was,
Grape jelly smeared across his smiling face
Blonde hair sticky and damp
His grandma laughing beside him

You scream his name
And remember him as A Mutant Turtle, A Pirate, Batman
A sword always at the ready
You hold onto that, breathing in the smell of him
The sharpness, before that other smell, that smell of decay, of deceit
That sword, how you wish he could've used it

You’re still seething but next you add on the boy he was on the field
All sinew and charm and goofiness
You’ve forgotten that he was once goofy!
Before the lying, before the stealing, before his mother grabbed him from behind and wouldn’t let go, screaming into the night
Before the lying
Before the stealing
That boy, in his dirt-stained uniform
You wrap yourself in that

You add a layer of grace, for the times it seemed like he would find it
Might find it, please, let him find it, let him know 
A minute of peace in the center of his swirling madness 
The days he dropped the lies and the attitude and admitted
He was scared
You wrap yourself in that

And then it is time to walk out the door
But you know there is something else, and you run back to find it
Your wife calls from the door— “Hurry, we’ll be late!”
You don’t even know what it is you root for in the drawer
Past the tie clips and the golf T’s and buttons and paper clips
Past the coins that say II and VI and X, not even the heaviest, XXVI
Not those, but the cheap white plastic one that says 1 Day
You put that in your left breast pocket, like the sword it is
And go to bury your son

5 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss Martha, for one more loss.
    May he finally find peace.

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  2. It's like the worst fellowship in the world, those who have buried a son, a brother, a father, a mother, a relative, a friend. There is no peace, just a eternal sadness that he could not be saved. My brother died 11/29/14 of a heroin overdose. I cry for him every day. I would give my life to save him. I love him and I always will.

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  3. This made me weep uncontrollably. My son left this world via heroin overdose March 15, 2014 at 31. All those images strike home so deeply. Yet it was comforting to know I am not alone, and it helped to have these feelings expressed that are always there, lurking, every day. My gratitude also goes to my friend Lisa who sent me the link.

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