Before

life was Dorothy Hamill haircuts and bright white roller skates with colorful wheels,
dimples and batted eyelashes and 25c ginger ale in returnable bottles

before it became grocery store boxes of hair color and the embarrassment of paper food stamps,
30 pounds of extra weight and fingernails bit to the quick and too many crushed cans of Milwaukee’s Best Lite littering the shitty apartment

life was bruises no one could see and tear-soaked pillow cases,
reduced priced school lunches and ketchup sandwiches at home and too many unasked questions by too many people who were supposed to be doing the asking

before it became her own hands swinging and her mouth repeating and too many more tears on another generation of pillow cases,
expired milk and bare cupboards and needle tracks up arms that have hugged all the wrong people

Hooked

below them,
the dark streets beckoned
with crimson light,
come dance with me
in the pale moonlight

as their eyes vibrated electric
in fight or flight,
with hair drenched in sweat,
whole-body tremors,
and no appetites

hooked, no money in their pockets,
they hunted like wolves
in the night,
lines so bent and blurred,
wrong looked a lot like right

they did what they must
to feed the hungry demon’s grip
all day and night –
ain’t no sleepin’ tight tonite,
out there, the bedbugs bite

-image via Pixabay; created in response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday, where the First Line was ‘below them the dark streets beckoned with crimson light’