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Street Drugs

by Ted King


For some months

I frequented a certain

coffee shop.

I kept to myself.

Got my medium Au lait and

took it outside

to sip in the sun.


Winter came.

I stopped going.

Last week, one warm day,

I went there

for the first time in months.

When I walked in

the barista came out from

behind the counter.

She put her arms around me.

She held me close and said

"We've missed you."


Street Drugs.


I went to

a Black Lives Matter gathering.

It was in a park

on the North Side.

About two hundred people.

Three or four of us white.

An elder woman

with fire in her soul

was addressing the crowd.

She challenged us,

"What will YOU do?"


Standing next to me was

a young girl,

a teenager.

I noticed her looking up at me.

I looked back at her.

We held the gaze

for a minute or two.

She began to cry.

She put her arms around my neck.

I put my arms around her.

"I'm afraid," she said.

"I know," I said,

"I know."


Street Drugs.


I was sitting on a bench

in a park with my dog,

enjoying the sunshine.

A homeless man I know,

a young man with few teeth,

came by and sat down

with us.

I said "How are ya, Bob?"

"I'm happy," he said

"I had a good breakfast

at the church

and I found some good scrap metal

in the alley. I'm happy."

He petted my dog and

wished us a good day.


Street Drugs.