O. D.

by J. C. Runolfson

Papa likes a pale girl
so the bruises show
Sugar Daddy likes his sugar
milk white
I like my white china
so I trade my complexion
for his coke
every junkie needs a fix

(sometimes I hold the whip
he likes the look
of leather and me)

No needles he says
runs a spotted hand down my arm
don't ruin it he says
I snort another line
before he can grab on hard
twist and moan
it doesn't take much
but excess is part of the high

(sometimes I scream at him
he likes a fight
and I don't care)

My mama loved me
but mother love doesn't feed you at sixteen
only so much room to grow
in a double wide
and Mama's china doesn't come powdered
so I head for the lights
so bright and sparkly
when you're flying

(sometimes I miss her
he gives me more
and I forget)

You know the thing with china though
it always breaks
and I go crashing
right when he leaves to get more
get something
I need something
so I take his keys
and search this whole big house

(sometimes I pretend
he's a prince
but I'm no princess)

That's how I find the room
and the needles
and the corpses
that's how I find what he does
with the ones who disobey
I drop the keys on the floor
pick them up and run
but they're pale like me
and the blood's blooming

(sometimes I bleed for him
he draws pictures
and I sign them)

I try to wash the blood off
of course it doesn't work
blood doesn't come clean in this house
and he was just waiting for me to fall
so he could bruise me
one last time
bleed me
save the head as a trophy
like he couldn't save the other one

(sometimes I play virgin
he thinks I was one
that first time)

He gets me by the hair
but I saved my own trophy from that room
I stick a needle in his eye
kick his legs out from under him
take the axe
and swing
once twice three times
and he's dead on the first stroke
but there were three corpses in that room
three years without my mama
and excess is part of the high

(sometimes I dream his death
he found me with a dead man
I said it was self-defense)

Every junkie needs a fix

J. C. Runolfson's work has appeared in Goblin Fruit previously, Lone Star Stories, Sybil's Garage, and Strange Horizons, to name a few. She is also an assistant editor for Flash Me Magazine. Most of her poetry is free-form, but she thought sonnets might be fun to try. She reads online a lot, which means following interesting links from the reading list of her journal. Currently, she's also re-reading Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds and the poetry of T. S. Eliot for comfort reading. Her favorite kind of weather is a heavy fog and drizzle in the morning that turns into a steady, muffling rainfall throughout the day, through which the fog horn comes like the forlorn ghost of some lost leviathan. This would explain why San Francisco is her favorite of the cities she's lived in.

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