"A Morning When I Was Using" by Joshua Anderson
I would get up before she’s awake
strong black coffee in the shower
cold and to the point to save time
shaving too, avoiding eye contact
as much as possible
leave the shower
and veins popping.
Reach for my heroin hobby kit
in the brown leather shaving bag
I stole form my father
cheap aluminum tins,
Q-tips, and tiny wax envelopes
With words like
“Black Magic,” “Reagan,” and “Ambition”
stamped on them.
I begin the ritual—
mix the shot, find the vein,
push down, push off, push away.
Heroin gives me a chance, I think.
The strength to look myself in the eyes.
I stare in the mirror and see a mask
and I adjust it
but no matter what I do each morning
my mask gets harder and harder
to breathe through.