methadone clinic between two train tracks
keeping hands in pockets to hide their shaking
dope sick and sobbing at the 7/11 for a taquito
this is not a poem about income inequality

two dead kids at the university
spray-paint memorial in the campus quad
head down so eye contact doesn’t invite conversation
this is not a poem about value

a Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship hat
methadone pill bottle and hometown pride
any sort of pride can remain after a hundred years of failure
this is not a poem about geography and its prerequisites

a kayak paddle propped against the memorial
a lifetime of cancer and the urge to escape it
we are fearing for a better life in the context of past experience
this is not a poem about hopelessness