I was 10,
At Abuela’s house,
They sat me across from Carmen,
noticeably getting thinner and thinner.
I remember the vagueness in her eyes,
that disoriented stare.
Struggling with the weight of her head,
just before it hit her chest.
Arroz con leche all over her face,
That shit was everywhere.
In gatherings and parties,
She would walk around the house frantic,
moving nervously – panicked.
Looking into purses, coats and other peoples jackets,
Hands shaking – face sweating – looking for a fix.
On the dresser a bottle of pills,
just enough to give her that thrill.
Pink ladies, Elavil’s and Valium,
It didn’t matter one bit.
as long as she got high off it.
She couldn’t main line or skin pop anymore,
Collapsed and infected by the poison she injected for so many years.
no will to reject it.
Carmen's skin was like leather.
The vitamins sucked out by the venom supplied by the felons,
that made a living off the weak and zealous for the next high.
Thighs acid eaten,
Chest bone dry.
I wonder if she felt like a women?
I never saw her try.
Carmen no longer a person,
just a fiend fueling the drug machine,
wandering about hopelessly with no end in sight,
it’s a fucked up exchange for a half hour high.
© Veronica Verdad. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 24 April 2015.