pretty.

he flicks the ashen remains of his cigarette
right into the forever of a gray night,
he’s got a cracked tooth,
‘can see it when his lips hint of a smile,
like they’re doin’ right now.
something that looks a bit like satisfaction,
rests easy on his face.
hands rest against his belt,
like he was born with one hand on his gun
the other on his hip.
the moon’s giving off just enough light,
he can see her once pretty face turning blue.
she looks at him, but her eyes don’t really see
anything.
except maybe a white light,
or just darkness.
depends on what a person believes comes next.
he tilts his head,
listens to her cough, vomit, choke
there’s a needle still strapped to her arm,
but he just watches.
shame, she might’ve been been pretty
if she wasn’t pretty messed up.
shame, she might’ve been someone
if she wasn’t someone who chose drugs
over her own son, from someone’s son.
shame, she would’ve been pretty,
forever,
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
if she wasn’t pretty vulnerable for a five year old,
if she wasn’t pretty depressed for a teenager,
if she wasn’t pretty lonely as a young woman.
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
she could’ve been someone…else.
if he would take a good look,
look at her eyes, clouding over like the moon
that’s watching over them,
maybe he’d see the blue eyes of a little girl,
could be his little girl,
if he had a little girl,
he’s just got boys.
so maybe that’s why he can’t see her
except through the eye of a needle.
he could have saved her life.
maybe he could have changed her life,
but he believes that she made a choice.
he believes she chose this life –
nothing could change his mind.
there’s a siren somewhere in the background,
theme music for a b-movie ending,
she’ll be happy now, right –
she can shoot up with Jesus,
maybe he’ll save her.
maybe if she makes it to Heaven.
seems like she’s already been to Hell.
be free, little bird, a shadow whispers.
he shakes his head at the shell of her,
here comes the ambulance,
snapping on blue gloves –
nitrile, not latex.
it’s too late to take it away,
but they do anyway.
bagged.
tagged.
evidence.
of another overdose.
they will carry his burden for him,
the one he refuses to take part of.
they know he could have saved her.
but the magic potion costs too much
and of course, she deserved it.
just like she did when she was five.
and seventeen.
and twenty-three.
because she was too pretty,
and then pretty fucked up.
so he watches them zip her up,
in a black bag.
he could have saved her.

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