I am standing
like the last, lone tooth
in the rum breath
of an old Black man,

crooked and alone.

I am watching Donnie
go to the gums, tooth by tooth:
branding his puckered lips
with the bottle’s searing arc.

I am standing
motherless now
handing Donnie bread
on the sunless sidewalk
where he gulped gin

ten thousand times

for the red eyed pain
that is his illiterate life,
losing his street tough
to the sadness of the gun filled years.

I am standing
on the shiny glass shards
of a thousand green bottles
that fell at Donnie’s feet

after leaving a pink ring
in the brown
and purple pigment
of his wasted mouth.

(for Donnie)


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