Like Clockwork by Alan Catlin

every Saturday morning
between three & three-
thirty, she wakes up
screaming for more blow,
crack, whatever she’s on,
injecting, snorting, smoking,
all of the above—-demanding
that he get some more—fast,
before she got sicker, so sick
she wouldn’t be able to stand
herself, would have to climb
the mother fucking walls,
coming down hallucination
demons crawling under her skin,
down the walls, filling up
the room, all the spaces left to
breathe—-he says, “Calm down.
Where am I going to get such
a thing this time of night?”
“I don’t care.” she cries, “Just
get it!” Screams, getting louder,
more desperate, more frantic,
more out of control—–until
he smacks her.  Hard. “Snap
out of it, girl! Get a grip,
get yourself together, now.”
But she doesn’t, won’t, starts
that Godawful screaming again—-
Until he hits her, harder, this time.
Again and again. Inducing a kind
of cowed silence, she interrupts
by whimpering, nodding off, for
the moment—-Their two boys
from other partners, burrowing
under the covers, no longer asking
what’s going on, what’s wrong
with momma?  They know, now,
how it is and how it will be.

acatlin multi

Alan Catlin is a widely published poet in the US of A and elsewhere. His most recent book is “Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry” about the deaths of his parents. He is a retired professional barman and the editor of the online poetry zine misfitmagazine.net.

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