Hard Love

by Elizabeth Beighton
(Sheffield, England)

You've died a thousand times before but your body did remain

With each abuse you heaped upon yourself and the collapse of one more vein.
The son we loved was so far gone, replaced by just a ghost
Cajoling, whimpering, threatening, simpering, wherever you'd get the most.

We had to steel our hearts to you when you asked for one more favour.
Just forty, thirty, twenty pounds or ten for drugs you had to savour.
We'd feed you and we'd bath you and send you on your way.
We'd close the door and close our mind to the price you were willing to pay.

Sometimes we'd see a glimmer, of the boy we used to know
Our hearts would leap, that you'd come through, but it was just a show.
A way of getting money to fuel your hearts desire.
Your only thought a needle, to set those veins on fire.

This time you didn't make it and your body is at rest.
We see your face, so calm, relaxed, the son we loved the best.
So many things are worse than death, dear son, our jewel, our gem.
And we know each day, that life for you was surely one of them.

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