My mouth is wide open
But I cannot swallow.

In the beginning I needed a life of
excitement and danger
A colored light moving
on a rippling wall
A man tearing at my heart
All was needed to wake me
from the cold stone
I was carved from.

A run-down walk-up apartment
Where I woke to see guys
pawing through my stuff
Going up to the roof
To look for my favorite dope addict
All of it
Was just a search
to feel alive.

Those exciting friends are already gone,
taking the midnight taxi ride
Through Central Park
Up into the blackness of the sky.

My mouth floats in space
Wide open
But I cannot swallow.

I stopped shooting drugs
but fifty years later
a blood test
shows that
there is still a price to pay.

The taste of love
I thought I knew it.
I rode the horse wildly
Shouting aloud.

Those exciting lovers left me long ago,
putting me in the taxi to heartbreak
where the radio plays death’s lullaby.

In the afterlife Anubis
weighs my heart.
What, he asks, is the disease?
What the cure?

I drop my accusations
And the pointing finger of blame.
Fate is like a gun barrel.
dancing down its silvery length
I watch the movie of my life repeat.

In the silence I heard the scratching of the pen
writing the prescription.
Stillness is the medicine.
Who I am
just nods.

My mouth floats in space
Wide open
And when I swallow
I taste the bittersweet wine
Of blood and tears and
life itself

Though the bottle seems to be
almost empty
The taste lingers
On my tongue.

Helene Constant
January 2018