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POETRY / Names Have Been Changed / Bill Repko


TW: Intravenous Drug Usage

Five minutes turn into ten minutes turn into forty while thin tendrils of blood are running across His arm, down His hand, and he’s crying because His ‘go-to’ has finally collapsed from hundreds of jagged needles, missed shots, and dehydration. Scars shine beneath particles of bitumen, car exhaust, and dumpster grease clinging to the skin. Snot runs down into the small center crevice of the top lip, the eyes burn, the hands shake, and he thinks if he could only hit the vein all the pain would go away, but the blood decides to coagulate, the plunger won’t move farther down than 20cc on the gauge and the sun doesn’t let up, it burns with greater intensity, and he can’t remember where he put the cap or the cotton or the rest of the works – which are all bent and dull, and the black tips of the plungers break off whenever drawn – and as he screams any last bit of hope escapes the body with nowhere to return, because all the names have been changed.  

His name is Bill Repko. He lives in Brookhaven.