such promise

it was a hot wednesday afternoon
i saw her downtown
this old high school classmate of mine
valedictorian of her class
hanging like a drying dish rag
on the pock-covered arm
of her fourth divorce

they looked like they had just driven in
from a northern shithole township
to taste
of the urban opioid market

oh,

merri smyth
merri smyth

full of
such
promise

please
tell me this

how is it
you are not
an astrophysicist

instead

a
mother of seven

living and dying
on public assistance

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