In and Out of Recovery                                                           by James Diaz

It all just hurts too damn much
he says
the man I carry
up the street
to a meeting
and we are two things
joined at the hip
in our dimly lit desire not to use death
as an excuse for more death

everything I know about addiction I learned in the cradle
heard the absence of my father like mice in the walls
it was dark laid upon dark
I saw
I knew
what was
and wasn’t
possible for us

but that kind of knowing is a lie
because just when we think we can’t
we do

there is a sound our pain makes in the dark
it’s a mother’s madness, it’s death and dank
it’s a family malady, this craving for the cold spot of the room

rise up in it now
this place you’re trying too hard to make a home out of

say the words, the stupid prayers,
say it with me (I hate it too) you know
but you gotta say it through the hating: I’m so goddamn powerless
and grateful to be here
thanks for letting me share this pain with you

it will never not hurt, brother
you will never not want to burn yourself right down to the bone

but you’re not alone
there’s that
let it be something

let it carry you.

James Diaz (They/Them) is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger, (Indolent Books, 2018) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha, 2021) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal, Corporeal, The Madrigal, Wrongdoing Magazine, The Lumiere Review, and Resurrection Mag. They live in upstate New York.

Guest Editor, Joan Kwon Glass (she/her) is the biracial, Korean American author of NIGHT SWIM, winner of the 2021 Diode Editions Book Contest, & is author of three chapbooks. Joan is the Editor in Chief of Harbor Review, a Brooklyn Poets mentor, poet laureate of Milford, CT, a Connecticut Office of the Arts Artists Respond grantee & poetry co-editor of West Trestle Review. A proud Smith College graduate, she has been a public school educator for 20 years. Her poems have appeared in Diode, Rattle, South Florida Poetry Journal, & many others. She grew up in Michigan & South Korea & lives in Connecticut with her family.

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