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Friday, October 04, 2013


by Kristina England

A highly addictive drug whose name derives from the green, scaly sores that develop on users’ rotting flesh was reported to have found a toehold in the United States this week. --LA Times, September 28, 2013


A woman lies on an operating table.
Metal tools deconstruct her brain,
then reassemble it.
She wakes, relieved to see another day,
expects the healing process,
the pain of coming back to life.
Weeks later, doctors inform
her the medical equipment was tainted,
the extra life that surgery gave her
may be eaten away;
she'd go mad in the process.
But they couldn't know for sure.
They had to wait
with her and seven other patients.
So the doctors, the media,
the whole world sat down,
flipped through magazines
while she went mad anyway.


A boy will inject himself in Arizona
with a drug called Krokodil.
Gasoline and oil in the blood,
his arm will bubble up,
go gangrene.

Two years to live,
he'll shoot up again,
reduce the days
with heroin.


A skin rash bans my friend's mother
from hugging her before surgery.

Lauren has stage 3 breast cancer.
Her mother - MRSA.
They can't even be in the same room
or else Lauren could get sick,
contract a flesh eating disease.

They know the odds, separate themselves,
wait to feel that mother-daughter touch again,
believing they will because belief
is the only thing between us
and the facts.


Flesh eating bacteria is breeding.
We find it in our conversations.

My mother and I tongueless from politics,
our conflicting thoughts on Obamacare
some tool, some needle, some rash
we refuse to deal with.

She sits on the right side of the table.
I circle my fork through spaghetti

on the left.

Soon we'll be dead to each other -
a statistic, an autopsy.

It will hurt.
It will be maddening.

And yet, we'll still inject ourselves,
unwilling to believe
we are addicted,
we are suicidal,
we are the boy in Arizona,
always searching for that ultimate high.

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry and fiction is published or forthcoming in Extract(s), Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, and other journals.