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Pam Gilman

About this Christian Poet:
I was at this woman's bed in the hospital when she was in a coma and dying of cirrhosis of the liver in the mid-90s. Though she could not respond, I gave her the gospel story yet again and also sang (as best as I could) "When We All Get to Heaven." The next day, the medical staff decided to "pull the plug", and she passed away. I hope I will see her again.

The Evils of Junk
   for D. Montgomery

On a lost corner in L.A., you kissed me.
Maybe it was the cinnamon candy in your
mouth—or the fact of your gender.
It was sweet, like horse.

That summer, while the wind scattered
the trash on Venice beach,
I drove you, by Fiat, from
trick to john, connection to dealer,
a journey too similar to Dante’s,
no matter how we tried to avoid the heat.

Hours of wangling in telephone booths,
waiting in alleys, fighting with pushers,
brought at last, a deflated balloon.
The balloon begat the needle,
the spoon, and the dark red blood.
Wholly, wholly, wholly.

You would slump down on the floor
in the bathroom
as if settling down in Eden,
the lines of your face easing,
dreams pouring from your eyes.
You would talk to me then,
a nodding, noodling, interminable
monologue on life, death, and
the evils of junk.

But I was fixed.
The rush of your attention
shot through me,
actual words spread peace
through my veins.
It was nirvana in the bathroom,
the details of our life plucked off
one by one until, finally,
nothing was left.

Copyright ©2004 by Pam Gilman