how can i help you

how do you lose a week?
a month? four years in a hole,
for a laugh, or a ride on
a highway of light,
or a lesson

you can’t remember

what tips that primal scale?
is it suffering, joy, forbearance?
why should you have to change,
and who can truly sever
the tether between each wanting?

is it wrong to drape yourself
in a cloak of heroin for half
a lifetime? or to wander
from closed hand to
open fist

snorting up loose crumbs of kindness?

and where did you learn
the lessons you kept?
to be a function,
a figment, a figure, a filament,

to be hewn of shame, you say
you were used like a doll and a punching bag
until your little brother turned four,

then there was no more to say

Ethan Milner is a writer in Oregon and a therapist at an adolescent day treatment school. His work has appeared in the journals ditch,decomP, Short, Fast, & Deadly, The Residential College Review, and Xylem.

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