“A Friend, Five” by Daniel Woody

a friend

i could help a while ago
maybe three or four years ago

i met at this clinic i thought
it was a clinic at least i thought
i could change a life somewhere
someone somewhere

the clinic asked me if i
could hand out bleach kits if i
was okay with it thinking it meant something else
like hair or teeth or skin or something else
i thought it was okay then
of course it was more then

he came to me he
twitched he
was hungry for food and heroin
or just heroin

i hesitated he twitched i
knew he’d clean his needles and i
refused would
it matter would
he use dirty and
contract h i
v and would i

be killing him i
thought was shooting up
better or was shooting up
worse than h i
v he took it i
mean snatched it and
his fingers brushed my palm and
it was like touching death death

had soft hands like we had



This is the fifth and final in a series of untitled “Friend poems” by Daniel Woody from a manuscript entitled bless us (who have chosen soul). Read the fourth here.


reprinted with permission from Our Lovely Secret Wreck. Chicago, 2016.

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