Free of Pretense by Dale Champlin

You’d be surprised how many people 
talk to goldfish.

He looked like a young David Bowie,
her kid Jimmy, when he came 
and sat beside my bowl.

“You know I’m an addict,”
he told me.

He talked to me the whole time 
he spread out his paraphernalia—
needle, cotton balls,
one of the Old Shoe’s best
silver-plate spoons. He tied 
off his arm and flicked a vein 
to pop it to the surface, added
a few drops from my bowl
to the white powder, pried
a lighter from the front key pocket 
of his skinny jeans and snapped it open.
The flame leaped—the concoction fizzed.

Shooting up slowed the thread 
of his narrative. I saw his eyes grow dim 
and glaze over.

It felt safe to tell Jimmy it wasn’t my father 
who jumped from the red bridge.

 “Why so sad?” I asked.

2 thoughts on “Free of Pretense by Dale Champlin

  1. Wow! Eloquent & haunting! So happy to hear about yr next chapbook. Hoping someday I’ll have a chance to get both autographed by the author.

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