Summer 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2000 |

Heroin

I left a message for my publisher to send copies of the contracts to my new agent, and then I read a passage about how no one talks about heroin anymore, and got nicked by it; it was early yet, I hadn't used heroin for years, I was one of the few rural junkies in the nation, one of the few who tended cattle, there I was nodding on a rock as the cows, stiff with unendurable shyness, stumbled up to me. My wife and I would eat mashed potatoes from the pot and lie out on the porch smoking reefer until it got too dark to see. I bought the drugs from my friend at the railroad repair depot just off the main line from Norfolk, Indochinese material, Long Bin—to Guam—to Fort Ord—to VA—then by Mr. Fixit train to me, traveling in a nylon medic's bag. I never trusted the supply—like love—it could dwindle, or simply give way, the flexed utensil, like one of those measuring sticks you unfold and lay across a map; anybody could step on it. I loved the graciousness of heroin, the way eve

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Charlie Smith has written five New York Times Notable Books and has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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I left a message for my publisher to send copies of the contracts to my new agent, and then I read a passage about how no one talks about heroin […]

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