Sandra Relyea ~
I sit in the cab of an old pickup truck on my father's farm, listening to the water gurgling through irrigation tubes alongside a field. The truck is parked next to a barbed-wire fence. I'm waiting for the water to reach the far side of the field so I can pull the tubes and reset them in the next field.
As I wait, I watch the setting sun turn the Sangre De Cristo Mountains red and orange. Crickets chirp in the tall grass; frogs start their evening chorus. Smells of alfalfa and milkweed blossoms scent the air. Peace settles over me as the light fades.
To my left, I notice a little spider spinning an orb web between the fence wires. A mosquito buzzes around my face, looking for a good landing spot. I catch it between two fingers and try to place it in the spider's web.
Laura Grace Weldon ~
Get out my green mug, round as a pregnant belly.
Casually pour grounds in the filter
despite monitoring devices warning
of an intruder's presence.
Act normally. Breathe deeply.
Let the cosmic swirl of cream in hot coffee
remind me how small one lifetime is
in an infinite universe. Remember
the Vedas say God's playfulness is expressed
through perpetual creation and dissolution.
Quell fear. Be peace.
Ignore creaks and groans as intruder
inches closer. Pretend
the future is a given,
as it was before
Carlos Downell ~
They say that to write well, you should write about what you know. I'm a homeless drug addict. This essay is not about me, although I'll figure in it. It's about drug abuse among the homeless, a subject I'm very well acquainted with.
I have a dual diagnosis--substance-abuse issues and psychiatric dysfunction. Double trouble. If I can't get meth, I'll smoke crack, and if I can't get crack, I'll smoke pot or take pills or whatever I can get--anything but inhalants. I'm what's known as a polysubstance abuser. (Most addicts are.)
I'm in recovery. Sounds like I should be in a hospital bed, and perhaps I should--but I continue to function. I abide, I persevere and I survive: It's what I do. I reside on the sidewalk, on the railroad tracks, under the freeway overpass.