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Kate Daniels: Detox  

So she wouldn’t judge, she practiced empathy,

sitting for months in full lotus, palms open, thumb

and forefinger touching to make a small circle

she could empty her thoughts inside until emptiness

was all that filled her. To complete the ritual

she purified her body, deleting the nightly glass

of Spanish red she enjoyed sipping while slicing

crudités for dinner.  Her medications – all

prescribed – were next: the benzodiazapene

she seldom took, the anti-depressant she swallowed

every day.  It surprised her – how long they took

exiting her body, and how reluctant they were

to leave, and how they bothered her for weeks,

waking her at night, throbbing down the long

spans of muscles in her quadriceps and gastrocnemius,

complaining as her system forced them out.


It was harder than she’d thought – giving up

her little pleasures, taking the shine off things

she had gotten used to polishing up at the end

of the day to anesthetize their prick… Still

it wasn’t all that difficult to shed those habits,

and she barely noticed any difference until

she saw him in the detox unit behind glass,

lined up on a bench with all the other addicts

and the drunks.  They looked like convicts

sitting side by side, with their laceless sneakers

and their beltless pants, locked in and shackled

to BP monitors and IV drips.


She was clean herself by then. So nothing

softened the blow or diluted the force of awful

feelings that slammed up inside her chest

when she saw that sight.  She had to take it

raw because she couldn’t rush home anymore

(as she would have done before) to calm herself

with a soothing dose of zoloft and merlot.


Copyright 2018 Kate Daniels. From In the Months of My Son’s Recovery by Kate Daniels. Forthcoming from LSU Press (2019)

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