Grackles fly over the doll factory.

Dolls reach out their stiff arms,


they know you’re dead.

Someone sues Big Pharma—


too late for you.


At the back of the turquoise bodega

drug deals go down.


Even in jail you found things

to smile about


even if you smiled wistfully,

like someone who remembers red poppies


when they had eyes.





The peacocks of addiction

strut their luminous wares.


Wherever you go

their purple moons tremble with promise.


When you sleep

they catch your dreams in snares.


They peck your bright hopes,




death’s dope.



Eighteen Months Recovery


You take your girlfriend to detox

as I once drove you along the potholes of  Mass. Ave

to Boston Medical.


I have a video we took that night—

your hands shaking, skin

hanging on depleted bones.


You give your girlfriend a pink rose.

You give her kisses you’ve been saving for years.

I wish I could spare you the urgent truth:


She loves someone more than you.

Someone who stuffs promises in her suitcase,

someone with a  voice like liquid caramel,


a nomad who goes by different names:

Juice, Tar, Mud, sometimes just H.

The trustee of hopelessness


holds her hand and whispers, Come,

come into the shadow of no memories,

the fortuity of my embrace.


Lee Varon

Lee Varon is a poetry, fiction and non-fiction writer. She won the 19th Annual Briar Cliff Review Fiction contest. Her poetry and short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in various journals including Painted Bride Quarterly and Atlanta Review. In 2017, Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Affairs Run in the Family. In 2018 she won the Sunshot Poetry Prize for her book, Shot in the Head. She is the co-editor of the anthology Spare Change News Poems: An Anthology by Homeless People and those Touched by Homelessness, published by Ibbetson Street Press in 2018.

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