from Zones of Avoidance

by Maggie Sawkins

I’m reading ‘The Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ –
I want to understand what drove my daughter out in the snow

with no coat or socks, in search of a fix.
I want to understand what divinity led her

to set up camp in the derelict ‘pigeon house’
after running out of sofas to surf.

*

I was a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds girl myself.
I liked the way it made inanimate objects move,

until that day in Balham when my guy sang Rock n Roll Suicide
from a third floor window, and an Alsatian leapt

from the wood grain of the station door, and policemen
were penguins in disguise.

*

Tough Love. The mantra of the support group for those
beaten by their loved one’s addiction.

When I was busted at nineteen and the bedsit landlord
tipped my belongings onto the street, the last person

I would’ve turned to was my mother.
You’ve made your bed. Lie on it. Lie on it. Lie on it.

*

My mother warned me about heroin, but it wasn’t to be
my drug of choice –

I preferred to turn on, tune in, drop out to Timothy Leary,
pick up my needle and move to another groove,

to fathom Hell and soar angelic,
to take a pinch of psychedelic.