She Wants to Come Home

Says she weighs a hundred pounds
wears a size seven now – six weeks
since she left town on the bus

That fifty pounds melted off
almost faster than she could pump in the amphetamines
sores inside her elbows, behind her knees

Won’t heal, but she’s thin and she likes that
she wants to come home – visit daughters
who live now with their grandfather

The baby’s father says if she comes to town
he’ll take the baby while she goes into
drug rehab         but she can’t think

Can’t talk about him without    her head
feeling like someone’s twisting it off and
how can she trust him not to bring home crack

While the baby’s there, him and his friends
weighing it out counting measuring
talking shit and shooting up the profit

Says she’s afraid
family’s all against her, won’t let her stay
don’t want her to call

Tell her    she
brought it all on herself
I took you in when you needed a place

She whispers to younger brother sister
they turn their backs
how can you let me and the baby stay on the streets

You don’t know what it’s like
you haven’t got a Clue
jabbing herself in the chest

Her fingers clench into a curious half fist
one finger out stiff poking holes
into her chest

They remember her holding the big kitchen knife
in that clenched hand
almost sticking it into her stomach screaming

You don’t care shit about me or you’d help me
get help they say quietly to her
turn away again   tears in their voices

And she knows she has them
for at least a day or so until she can rest
maybe find someone who thinks she’s alright

All she needs is a few days

Written in May 1994

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